St George’s Prep PTA Call For Minister To Resign

May 4, 2024 | 0 Comments

The PTA of St George’s Prep said they are “deeply confused and disturbed by the government’s choice to explicitly deviate from the one-school-per-parish policy which has been justified repeatedly by citing declining birthrates and school enrollment figures.”

A PTA spokesperson said, “We congratulate St David’s Primary’s PTA on their successful advocacy. St David’s is distinct culturally, geographically, and historically and deserves to have its own community primary school in addition to being its own parish. However, the fact of the matter is that enrolment at the school is low, and birthrates still show a downward trend.

“At no point prior to or during the rescoring process was it noted that it would be possible for a parish to have more than one school. The decision was nothing more than a political ploy to appease constituents and retain votes. In other words, this government has prioritized politics over what’s best for children. Further, the Trustees of St George’s Prep offered to deed the school’s land to the government, therefore this was a non-issue.

“Our PTA cannot help but note a vindictive attitude towards our school community that is rooted in its previous status as the designated white school for St George’s at a time when our society was organized around the principal of racial segregation and oppression.

“This is a legitimate trauma that’s endured into the present which has translated into a wrongful prejudice against the school, and its continued perception as a “white” school. For clarity, of the 92 students at St George’s Prep, 14% are white.

“Do our voices not matter because our votes don’t matter now that East End and St David’s Primary have been placated? Does the PLP government believe that only OBA supporters attend St George’s Prep since it’s perceived as a “white” school?

“In addition to sidelining the concerns of our school community, evidenced by the Minister’s infamous “not-in-the-mix” comments made in the past, St George’s Prep has been sorely underfunded by the government since the 2020/2021 fiscal year. Despite this, the Trustees, leadership, and staff have risen to the occasion to continue delivering an exceptional educational provision for our children.

“To be clear, St George’s Prep is a public aided school, like Whitney Institute, Sandy’s, and Berkeley. It is in no way shape or form a private school that the government chooses to fund. The funding matter will be detailed in due course as fundraising needs to take place for the 2024/2025 fiscal year to literally keep the school’s lights on. This is especially egregious considering the millions of dollars that have been committed to the Innovation Unit consultants.

“The scoring and consultation for the parish primary school model was deeply flawed and problematic from the beginning. Scoring was done in secret; school sites were effectively identified prior to public consultation; school performance was not a factor; scoring was done “round table” without visits to school sites with impartial data collection; millions have been spent since 2019 with little to no results, and the list goes on.

“In meetings with the governance committee of Education Reform, of which the Minister was present, our representatives made it clear at that time we were not advocating for St George’s Prep to be the parish primary school. Our demand was to remain in place until the new parish school was complete, and we would not accept a closure date until that was done. Since government has intensely deviated from their policy, we need to revisit this position with our parent body.

“Furthermore, the Minister made it clear several times that the new transition plan from a 3-tier to 2-tier system, which previously included the Whitney Institute amalgamation, would be released as a draft before being finalized. Recent correspondence gives the impression this will not take place. It would be extremely unwise for the government to not honor this.

“The St George’s Prep PTA calls for the resignation of the Minister of Education. This is not a leader that cares about all of Bermuda’s children regardless of politics. This is not a leader who’s willing to do what’s right and what’s best. This is a leader who’s content to play politics with people’s children. It’s time for him to step aside and it’s time for the PLP to show concern for all of Bermuda’s children: not just the ones who’ll gain them votes. Enough is enough.”

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