Education Explains Why School Cafeteria Is Being Used For Storage, Rather Than Meals

Education Explains Why School Cafeteria Is Being Used For Storage, Rather Than Meals

KINGSHILL — The Department of Education devoted a long, “condescending” exegesis to explain why the cafeteria at the Claude O. Markoe Elementary School is being used for storage space — rather than a space for school children to eat meals.

The VIDE also explained that if any repairs have been made to the “aged” Claude O. Markoe School, then Governor Albert Bryan, Jr. is responsible — and not St. Croix Senator Kurt Vialet.

“West Gyul the Department of Education is pleased to see this important conversation around our aged school facilities taking place on your online platform,” the VIDE said on Facebook. “In our view, this is exactly what community is all about–everyone rallying around our children and our schools. We applaud and welcome it.”

Education Explains Why School Cafeteria Is Being Used For Storage, Rather Than Meals

“The particular issue highlighted in your post is misleading your readers because ongoing repairs are being conducted at the Claude O. Markoe campus on a regular basis (see recent photos in this post from 2021-2022 SY). Furthermore, the cafeteria has been used to house new resources and equipment purchased to enhance the environment and operations of Claude O. Markoe School. Students are safely being served meals on their campus.”

Without question, our school buildings are aged; many operating well beyond their lifecycle of 40 years — in Claude O. Markoe’s case, age 64; thus, there will always be extensive maintenance issues to prioritize until campuses are rebuilt or modernized, as outlined in the link provided below.”

Education Explains Why School Cafeteria Is Being Used For Storage, Rather Than Meals

While we can appreciate the important work of the Legislative Branch of our local government, Senator Kurt Vialet, a former school leader himself, would agree that he had nothing at all to do with helping to move forward “a plan” for Claude O. Markoe’s cafeteria, as your West Gyul post erroneously states. The truth is that the St. Croix District Office of the Insular Superintendent, along with the district’s Maintenance Director, Mr. Davidson Charlemagne, and his capable team of maintenance professionals, had already met with the school’s administration to address the particular issue presented in your post– Senator Kurt Vialet had nothing to do with that discussion. Furthermore, the maintenance team has long established a system to regularly inform school administrators of the work planned for their campuses.”

Education Explains Why School Cafeteria Is Being Used For Storage, Rather Than Meals

“Given his background in Education, Sen. Kurt Vialet is well acquainted with the processes involved in spending funds to address issues on our campuses. We are grateful for the progress made within the last year in the GVI to revamp the territory’s procurement process. No matter how well-intentioned, a senator cannot expedite any maintenance projects on any of our school campuses because projects all follow the same process.

“You should know that in 2019, the Claude O. Markoe School community and members of the St. Croix community, at large, was directly involved in the extensive planning and crafting of the Educational Facility Master Plan–a living, breathing document that will guide the work of constructing new USVI schools or modernizing existing school buildings. We encourage you, and your readers, to carve out some time to visit the www.newschoolsvide.com website to see current plans for Claude O. Markoe and other St. Croix schools–as contributed by members of the Claude O. Markoe family, the Frederiksted community, and the larger St. Croix community, inclusive of current and former elected officials, business owners, parents, students, community activists, education professionals, and the like.

Education Explains Why School Cafeteria Is Being Used For Storage, Rather Than Meals

“Additionally, this February 24, 2022 episode of Recovery in Focus, https://www.facebook.com/wtjx/videos/1042310606629655, is a tremendous resource to learn about the work, the finances, the challenges, the successes, and the plans for the Territory’s schools–including Claude O. Markoe. We encourage you, and your readers, to view it. We are certain you will find it to be very informative.”

“Lastly, we believe that you genuinely care about this community, based on the often uplifting and positive content your platform shares; thus, we know that you would be willing to consult with the Department, firsthand, for factual information regarding its schools and its operations. You may feel free to reach us at public.relations@vide.vi or call (340) 774-0100. It is not the practice of the Department of Education to regularly comment on public opinions. Residents of our community are free to express their ideas. However, when we find that opinions cross the line of dangerously misleading and misinforming the public, it is our duty to provide the appropriate facts.”

Education Explains Why School Cafeteria Is Being Used For Storage, Rather Than Meals

Readers on social media felt that the Department of Education adopted a “condescending tone” when trying to make its points with West Gyul.

“Too many are not speaking out. We thank West Gyul,” Genitta Richards said. “I must say that parents should have been outraged enough to take action. The children deserve better. The food service workers deserve better. The teachers and para professionals deserve better. Let’s do better and demand accountability.”

Education Explains Why School Cafeteria Is Being Used For Storage, Rather Than Meals