Teachers to be Affected
Minister of Education Patrick Faber confirmed today that a number of teachers will not be returning to the classrooms at Gwen Lizarraga High School. That high school, which falls within his constituency, has been consistently plagued by internal problems and the enrolment numbers have plunged; so much so that only three hundred and thirty students are registered, while forty-four teachers are employed at the school. The minister says that, subventions will be reduced to match the number of students so that the school won’t be able to employ the large amount of teachers. It is reported that as many as seventeen teachers will be affected. Faber says that low confidence in the school has caused the drop in numbers.
Patrick Faber, Minister of Education
“I’ve heard that there was some meeting where the board may have said to teachers listen, some people may have to be taken off the roster because of low enrolment. But if that is the case, let me say that it is perfectly in line with how our system works. I have met with teachers; I have met with the wider stakeholder community of Gwen Liz on occasion; I have made appeals publicly. This doesn’t have only to do with Gwen Liz; this is something that I make appeal for all the time. When it is that we destroy the reputation and the character of a school, this is what happens. When teachers go on sick-out and strikes and they call in the media. And I will also put some of this on the media—we put blast on the school about all the situations that are happening and we make it seem like the school is an utter failure, then people lose confidence in the school and that is what has happened at Gwen Liz. We ought not behave now like we are surprised. The performance of the school, because of the situations that existed there, has gone down; parents have lost confidence in sending their children there and so the enrolment has dropped tremendously. And when it is that we have a system that is now financed not by the number of teachers that you have at your school, but by the number of students that you have enrolled or that you are catering for. It is only right that if you have half the number of students, that you should have half the amount of teachers and the school will have to make those tough decisions. That shouldn’t strike anybody as surprising.”
What’s the Fate of Lorna McKay as Gwen Liz Principal?
Gwen Lizarraga High School remains in disarray, despite a new school year kicking off on Monday. That disorganized state is due in part to a protracted issue involving Principal Lorna McKay who has been benched while the Teaching Services Commission adjudicates a matter brought against her. Doctor McKay refutes allegations of financial misappropriation during her leadership of the secondary school and has appealed a decision handed down by the TSC. While we agree that the matter is not before the court, it is lodged in a tribunal that will ultimately decide her fate as principal. Earlier today, Minister of Education Patrick Faber weighed in on the embattled principal.
Patrick Faber, Minister of Education
“On the matter of the principal, Dr. Lorna McKay, there is the situation of her appeal which keeps her in the position of the principal. The position is that we had; well there is a pronouncement by the TSC [Teaching Service Commission] on the charges that were levied. She is not satisfied with those results and so she’s making an appeal and that appeal has to come before the appeals tribunal, but the tribunal is unable to convene because the chairman, the regular chairman of the tribunal is Mr. Steve Perrera, who at some point in the leadership of Dr. McKay sat on the board of Gwen Liz and as a result he is unable to preside over, he has to recuse himself and we are seeking to find a lawyer to replace, and you understand… Dis da noh something that is permanent. Mr. Perrera is the permanent chair of the tribunal, this is somebody who has to come in merely to hear the case of the principal of Gwen Liz and that is proving difficult to find. I did have some additional suggestions made by our Cabinet colleagues on Tuesday and I will approach those persons to see if we can fill the gap there. And once we do that, we hope to resolve the matter of Gwen Liz’s leadership as quickly possible.”