Sep 09, 2016 News
Buxton Primary and Hendon’s Nursery schools have been housed in the same building for all most 36 years. However Buxton Primary was officially established in the 1840’s, some 170 years ago.
In Budget 2016, the sum of 15 million was allocated for repair works on the building – five million for the nursery school and 10 million for the primary school.
The Schools were also visited by Regional Executive Officer, Region 4, Pauline Lucas, who highlighted some issues with the building. Lucas requested that Regional Engineer, Elon Austin, do a condition report in which it was suggested the building be demolished and replaced.
However the suggestion was not supported by the information in the accompanying report.
Anthony Hicks, Regional Councilor, Region 4 who is also a Civil Engineer, said in July during a Council meeting, he would have rejected the report submitted by the Regional Engineer and the subsequent suggestion that the school be closed indefinitely.
Following that meeting, a group of Buxton residents would have met with the Regional Administration to discuss the issue. At the forum, Hicks said he had highlighted the fact that the building was not structurally sound.
A second condition report was done by an engineer out of the Ministry of Education. Hicks added, the engineer submitted a verbal report suggesting that school would need repairs to the tune of 40 million. This too, the Councilor said he rejected.
Hicks said based on his experience as a Civil Engineer, the structure could be rehabilitated with the 15 million allocated.
That aside, Hicks disclosed that there are some other issues that have brought about the idea of indefinite closure. The Region 4 Councilor said the Education Department is contending that a Nursery School and Primary School should not share the same facility.
The Councilor said this contention was not supported by any evidence.
Additionally the Education Department, Region 4, is of the view that the number of students at both schools is too low, with 70 at the primary level and 65 at the nursery level.
It was noted by Hicks that the community has sufficient children to allow the school to have its full complement of students. Moreover, it is the job of the Education Ministry to place students in school, adding that children from the community are sent elsewhere.
The Councilor said this is against the “rule” established by the Education Ministry, as they would often tell parents, that students must go to a school close to their home or close to their parent’s place of work.
“Why you would want to close down a school, because you are failing to do your work. That is, to provide the school with enough children”.
It was also disclosed that the Education Department, has not sent a representative to the school’s closing exercise in the past 10 years. This, he said, is unacceptable.
Hicks said he has heard statements from the Education Minister, Dr Rupert Roopnaraine, that Buxton needs a new school.
“To this I say no! Buxton does not. It would be a waste of resources that are scarce at this time. Why would you want to demolish and rebuild a school for 40 million dollars when you can repair it for 15 million?”
The Councilor said, what is really needed in Buxton is the proper monitoring and implementation of the curriculum.
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