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MAPP: Territory’s Schools Won’t Be ‘Perfect’ When They Open In Three Weeks … But They Will Be Clean

BIG ORDER: Gov. Kenneth Mapp (middle) and Lt. Gov. Osbert Potter (right) listen as Education Commissioner Sharon McCollum explains why the territory’s schools won’t be in “perfect order” when they open in three weeks.

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — The territory’s schools won’t be ready when they open in three weeks — but they will be clean.

That was the word Gov. Kenneth Mapp announced at a press conference with V.I. Education Commissioner Sharon McCollum on Wednesday.

Education officials distributed a timeline of when each school on St. Thomas and St. Croix should be ready and how much it is expected to cost to fix them.

The Legislature has appropriated $1.75 million for summer maintenance of the territory’s schools, but that money has yet to be released by the Office of Management and Budget.

Two major credit ratings firms based in the United States have said this week that the territory is using all available government money to continue to make payroll for government employees every two weeks — and downgraded the Virgin Islands bonds as a result.

McCollum assured parents, students and teachers that the territory’s public schools will be prepared for the next school year beginning September 5.
She acknowledged that some physical repairs will be ongoing, but that the basic maintenance and repairs will have been completed by then.
Education officials were expecting to spend $753,631 on St. Thomas schools and $866,100 on St. Croix schools during the summer maintenance period.
Mapp said that at least $14.6 million is available for school maintenance and of that amount $7 million is earmarked for capital improvement projects already underway.
“We’re not going to find the schools in perfect order when the children arrive on September 5,” he said. “We’re going to find the schools clean and ready to be inhabited by the children and professional staff.”
Mapp and Lt. Governor Osbert Potter have invited members of the Board of Education, the Legislature and media to accompany them on a tour of all school properties planned for August 28.

 

 

 

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy has been reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands since 1989. He is originally from Detroit, Michigan.

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