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TWO BUDGETS: Still not enough money for classrooms

Myron Walwyn outside the House of Assembly with Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education Dr Marcia Potter

Myron Walwyn outside the House of Assembly with Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education Dr Marcia Potter. File photo

The National Democratic Party government still has not budgeted enough funds to build new classrooms at Elmore Stoutt High School (ESHS) to accommodate students in the recently launched Grade 12 programme.

This is at least the second annual budget that the government is presenting without making the necessary allocation.

During the 2016 budget debate roughly a year ago, Minister of Education Myron Walwyn lamented that the funds were not being made available for the additional classrooms.

The government, at the time, did not budge, and students of the new Grade 12 were forced to find accommodation at H Lavity Stoutt Community College – miles away from their rightful place at ESHS.

Now that another budget is being debated, enough money is still not budgeted for the new classrooms to be built to properly accommodate the Grade 12 students at ESHS.

During her recent appearance before the parliament’s Standing Finance Committee, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education Dr Marcia Potter noted the budgetary shortfall.

The Committee, in its report tabled in the House of Assembly yesterday, paraphrased Dr Potter: “The Permanent Secretary (Dr Potter) stated that, in the Capital Budget [for 2017], there was a million dollars to complete the works [at ESHS], but she said that it would not be sufficient to complete the works.”

“The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education and Culture also stated that the work had started in December, and some foundation work had been done,” added the Standing Finance Committee.

The assistant secretary in the said ministry, Lorna Stevens, in the meantime, told the parliamentary committee that the estimated cost for the two-storey building to accommodate the students at ESHS is $1,935,195.

She added that the building, which will be steel-framed reinforced, is to have a total of 16 classroom spaces and bathroom facilities.

Stevens expressed optimism that the additional classrooms to accommodate the Grade 12 students will be completed before the next school year that formally starts in September.

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