Senator Ming On East End Primary Concerns

March 27, 2015

Following up on her recent column about the matter, Senator Renee Ming has continued to voice her concern over the possible closure of East End Primary School, saying that St. George’s “deserves better.”

“The silence of the area representatives is extremely deafening,” Senator Ming said, “We would like to see some support down here in our constituencies.”

“MP Bascome and MP Outerbridge have been invited to both meetings and they have not attended. They have the community that has concerns with regard to a possible closure of East End Primary School.

“We have the parents, we have the teachers, we had the principal. Everyone’s trying to come up with some solutions if that’s what we need to do. It would be greatly appreciated if the area MPs showed their support to the constituents and those people that actually voted them in.”

Senator Ming added, “I know there’s a great history with the school, and all we’re saying is that St. George’s deserves better. You should be out to at least hear the concerns of your constituencies so that you can report back what it is that they’re saying and what it is that they may be willing to do and how we can assist in coming up with solutions.

“At this time I just want to say that, on behalf of the Progressive Labour Party, we are supporting and we are listening although it’s not our decision to make and no decision has been made as of yet, MP Lavita Foggo and myself we were there, we are listening and we support the parents at East End Primary School.

When asked what message she hoped to get to the Minister of Education, Senator Ming said, “We are still awaiting what his final decision will be which we are hoping comes shortly, as some people’s lives are undecided at this time.

“We are hoping that our area representatives come and actually represent and listen and hear our concerns.”

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Comments (36)

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  1. Face the Facts says:

    Guess what PLP, you had your turn and you wrecked us. So now, we have to leave emotion out of the equation and focus on the facts. It doesn’t matter what St. George’s deserves, it’s about what makes economic sense.

    • What went wrong says:

      Oh really, like spending 1.4 million on a lawsuit when you taken to court for voiding a contract?

      What were you saying about economic sense?

      • ..... says:

        Would you rather they didn’t spend that money and we loose control of our waterfront for 262 years?

      • Onion says:

        The amount spent was far less than that. Stop spreading lies.

      • Right says:

        Good thing that never happened

  2. hmmm says:

    ….the PLP listening to the people is such a cheap and dirty attempt to discredit the current Govt. PLP trying to make folks forget that these changes are as a result of the PLP ineffectiveness to reform education over 14 years as a result of the PLP debt burden placed on all our shoulders as a result of shocking management of the country and the fact that they didn’t listen. Yes that too shall pass, we had to decieve you…spring to mind ! must think Bermudians are stupid !!!???

    Vote this type of grandstanding politics out of Bermuda!!!!

    • What went wrong says:

      So, you think its OK for elected representatives to refuse to attend 2 meetings of a school in their area when they are invited.

      Focus on the issue. The fact that they can’t show up for a meeting is unacceptable.

      Only the most rabid OBA defender would see that otherwise.

    • sparkz says:

      You say plp listening is a dirty trick ,but isn’t that the job of government? So I must adk is the OBA above listening to the people? And you talk about debt,have we forgotten about the many projects the UBP went over budget,ie the airport,westgate and cedar bridge to name a few? And how would you answer the question when it’s put to you that the last time OBA/UBP made an education reform and built CBA they contributed the the current gang violence by putting large groups of neiborhoods together in one school?so before we talk about 14 years of PLP let’s think of 30 before we’re the debts were created!!

  3. serengeti says:

    She still doesn’t address the facts, of course.

  4. Build a Better Bermuda says:

    There is little doubt concerning the historical significance of East End Primary… there is also little doubt that it perhaps the highest per student cost for keeping it open. It has the lowest student enrollment, and while it would be great to keep it open, to do so would drain the ability to better fund the overall education, a buildingshistorical significance is not a great arguement for hemoraging money from the ability to educate our children. The propoganda that the PLP like to propagate that the OBA doesn’t know what the people’s concerns are, is just that. The OBA knows the concerns of their constituents, to keep going to meeting after meeting, everytime the PLP calls one to hear these concerns repeated again and again only serves to distract them from finding solutions that will benefit all that they are responsible for. From everything that Ms Ming says, despite all their meetings, they still have no clue how to keep the school viable and open, so until they can come up with an idea that will drastically reduce the schools operating costs, they are just wasting the time of everyone else to try and summon them to meetings to tell them they don’t have any ideas.
    Perhaps the facilities could be better utilized as a community Center than a school at this point? But the simple matter is, that we can no longer afford to run ineffeicent facilities for educating our children… they must come first, before a building.

    • betty dump says:

      East End is the only wheelchair accessible school in the east. The next is Elliot Primary. But oh well I forgot… we don’t value people with disabilities in Bermuda… make those students carry their wheelchairs up the stairs right?!?!

      • serengeti says:

        For the $1.4m it would cost to run East End they could retrofit another school with wheelchair access. That way the investment would be in facilities that will benefit students in the future. Senator Ming has not actually expressed any concern at all about students with special needs. She has only talked about how the school has a “great history” and is “where her family comes from”.

      • Build a Better Bermuda says:

        So your reaction is to negatively slam the reality of the situation, rather than look for a positive option like refitting another school in the area for the disabled, for far less than the cost of keeping East End open. We have a school, that isn’t being under utilized, it simply isn’t being utilized anymore, students want to go somewhere first, at what point do we keep the school still going, when there aren’t students going there. The funding for that school could be used to refit another, like St. George Prep, for the disabled, with savings leftover. And I will again state my idea to reuse the East End facilities for a community center.

        • betty dump says:

          There are other solutions that can be applied. There are non-teaching deputy positions that a few years ago were needed… but not today. There are several other savings that can be realized as well without closing the only wheelchair accessible school in the east. Do you really believe that taking 80 students from one school to a school of 150 will not have a detrimental effect on their education? Do you really believe that it will be cheaper to make an entire school wheelchair accessible? Besides on top of all that, St. George prep does not have the physical space to have two streams from P1 – P6… so really you are saying spend money to refit the school for wheelchairs and build additional classrooms as a way to save money? It was you who stated give one good reason for it to stay open… I gave you 3… wheelchair accessibility, physical space, and detrimental effects of throwing 80 primary age children into another school.

          • Build a Better Bermuda says:

            Who said all 80 would go there… also, the released enrollment there is only 64, and I only used St G Prep as one possible, nor did I ask for only 1 reason to keep it open. I asked for a way to cut it operational cost down to a viable level and the cost of running a facility will not be hugely decreased with the letting go of a couple of staf, who by your accounts, should have been let go anyway. Children are wonderfully flexible and adaptable specimens of humanity, more so than their parents… the major reason why they would be able to adapt to a new school, would be negative impressions instilled on them by their support adult group about the whole idea. As for physical space and wheelchair accessibility, those can be overcome. It would be great to provide all our children with such education environments with lower student to teacher ratios, but we simply cannot sustain that model at this time, the money is not there anymore, more should have been done to develop sustainable education environments when we had it, but it isn’t there… we cannot use something that isn’t there, we have to use what is. Reality sucks and the OBA is finally doing something that they have fighting to stave off since the got elected in, that is the cards they have been dealt, because the reports have been in governement since before they were elected, that school consolidations were a requirement… and unfortunately, with its low enrollment and higher cost per student running, East End is very likely a candidate for being a victim of this. The question remains that in face of this potential inevitability, and is the decision comes down, for the sake of the children are you going to be a negative impression for this, or a positive support for their transition

    • St. Geo4Lyfe says:

      The St. George’s Community center is already located next door. Get a clue…

      • Build a Better Bermuda says:

        So the ability to expand it would be that much easier and cost effective.

  5. Raymond Ray says:

    I suggest to you Senator Ming do accompany the other P.L.P. supporters who will,(without any doubt) be there.
    The One Bermuda Alliance are going to be having a Town Hall meeting at Penno’s Wharf, this coming Tuesday, March 31st. 2015. It shall be hosted by the ruling party’s Members of Parliament for the area, M.P. Kenneth Bascome, M.P Nandi Outerbridge and M.P.Suzanne Roberts-Holshouser who will oversee brief presentations by a variety of Ministers, followed by our opportunity to questions the O.B.A. Members.
    Note; Presentations shall be made by Premier Michael Dunkley, Minister of National Security, Minister Shawn Crockwell, (Minister of Tourism Development and Transport) also Minister of Public Works, Craig Cannonier.

    • What went wrong says:

      I think its fair to say their would have been no town hall meeting if Renee Ming didn’t say anything.

      The better question is, why ins’t the Minster of Education at this Town Hall meeting?

      • Build a Better Bermuda says:

        I think it is fair to say there would have been, this meeting is about more than just the school, it is about a multitude of matters that impact the east end

  6. sebring says:

    well I think it best to turn the building in St George to a Government run elderly home with out all the bells and whistles that kemh has with an ambulance in place at that side of the island in that same location. with the money saved from lamb fogo’s closure and the hospital subsidies it’s a win win for everyone and gives the elderly a clean place to call home saves the tax payer monies , and could employ many that could be left with out a job once schools merge.

    • Raymond Ray says:

      @ sebring: In quoting betty dump, “East End is the only wheelchair accessible school in the east.”
      I would agree with sebring, convert it into an elderly citizens home. Why not? (2 birds with 1 stone)

    • St. Geo4Lyfe says:

      Silvia Richardson is right next door… try again.

      • sebring says:

        I did say a clean, nice and government run elderly home. Big difference .

  7. Vote for Me says:

    A simple fact is that no school closures should be initiated by concerns for money. The initiation should be based on performance.

    One example, suppose East End is the smallest and most expensive school but gets the best results? It would then make sense to model other schools on the East End model.

    How were average costs determined? Total school budget divided by number of students. Does the school have any special circumstances that warrant higher school costs.

    Is it possible to save teh $1m by simply trimming the sizable overhead at Ministry Headquarters that do not represent frontline staff?

    What other options for cost savings ahve been considered, to allow the broader school stakeholders to consider other viable options to save the $$$. ONe thought bandied about is to simply implement alternative energy solutions.

    I am a proponent for school reorganisation but I believe it should be done on the basis of student outcomes. Based on the information presented thus far, a decision timeframe of March 31st is simply not possible if we are genuinely focussed on improved student outcomes..

    • Casual Observer says:

      Unfortunately given recent events I do not believe the Government has the ability to cut the top heavy MoE as the Union’s would have their say of course.

      But I do agree with your assertion in cutting such expenses.

  8. mr speaker says:

    PLP destroyed St.Geo. The implosion of club med and closing down the golf club. No matter what the plp say they r full of crap

  9. somuchless says:

    I hope Cannon Air talks about jetgate cause I wana hear what really went down and we still haven’t heard what happened to the monies.

  10. bluebird says:

    THE CRUNCH IT COMMING and the PLP just dont like it.The BTUC dont like it either.
    you all want and want someone else to pay for it.
    Them days have passed us now,the Goverment due to the BTUC have racked up a HUGE debt and still growing.
    The day when we have to pay is not far away

    • C James says:

      Its gonna get ugly. PLP moan and complain every time OBA tries to cut back on expenses. Very soon the piper will have to be paid. When Government can’t make payroll, civil servants will be wishing they’d taken that furlough day.

      PLP spent all our $$$$$$ – plain and simple.

  11. Rasta says:

    St. Georges deserves better. That is why the OBA are the govt.

  12. Common Sense says:

    The PLP supporters keep harping about Jetgate, actually not the OBA’s finest hour. However in comparison with BHC, BLDC, Berkeley, Faith Based Tourism, Port Royal, TCD, Heritage Wharf, Global Hue, Grand Atlantic and a few others; Jetgate was not a big deal and did not cost the taxpayer anything. These other PLP scandals added hugely to our national debt.
    The Bible says that we should cast out the beam from our own eye before worrying about the moat in our neighbour’s eye!!

  13. mr speaker says:

    Growing up in St.geo had the best memories seeing tourist n locals playing golf everyday lil private parties up club med in the pool guys pack racing off tip top. Lets try n back the oba see what they can do i kno its not gonna be easy but lets try. Just think $1m went to beyonce when she came to sing 4 songs then left. I have no faith in PLP

  14. Raymond Ray says:

    Just love it Common Sense…These other PLP scandals added hugely to our national debt.
    The Bible says that we should cast out the beam from our own eye before worrying about the moat in our neighbour’s eye!!
    Personally, I can hardly wait for all the crap that the former Government were / are responsible for to come to the surface, with enough evidence to prosecute them responsible!

  15. St. Geo4Lyfe says:

    A few things. East End Primary students cannot be consolidated with St. George’s prep because prep is technically not a Government school. It is a Government added school but not owned by them. If East End is closed we will be forced to send our children to St. David’s Primary… how will this work? It’s not like east end is anywhere near st. David’s… check a map. East end caters to students that have been classified as “problems” elsewhere. The small environment of the school is what helps them to excel. If east end is put on the chopping block you the noise from the east will surprise everyone.

  16. Reality Check says:

    Get your facts right before posting StGeo4Lyfe. St. George’s Prep is a grant aided school it is not private. The staff are paid by Government and the teachers and principals are unionised. The school follows the Cambridge curriculum like all public schools. The children that attend Prep have usually gone to either St. George’s Pre school or St. David’s Pre school first. When the PARENTS of P1 children select their choice of school they can choose anywhere in the Eastern zone. It is the MINISTRY OF ED that determines which students will make up the P1 class in each school. In recent years less and less parents have opted for East End and have “fought” to get into Prep, because it is Prep that actually has the best results.

    If East End is closed, there are three schools in the area where children can be placed, St. David’s, St. George’s Prep and Francis Patton. Currently you have children that live in St. David’s and attend school at East End or Prep and you have children in Hamilton Parish (near to Francis Patton) who attend school in St. George’s. No doubt in placing the children currently at East End into other schools, the Ministry would also have to take into consideration where they actually live. In addition, if all of the three afermentioned schools were utilized you would have less than 25 new children in each school, which is the equivalent of ONE class. So before all the theatricals CHECK your info.