St. Andrew High School for Girls would like to clarify the school’s position based on statements made by the Minister of Education Youth and Information, the Honourable Ruel Reid on Wednesday August 3, 2017 at the post Cabinet Press Briefing and in the media accusing St Andrew High School for Girls of corruption and extortion.
The Board of Management considers it most unfortunate that no communication was made with the school’s administration prior to the Minister’s pronouncements in the media. That the Minister should choose to malign the character of our hard-working Principal and committed Board Members by referring to them as corrupt and as extortionists cannot be overlooked or taken lightly. These persons who the Minister has said he is “going after” have freely given of their time, talent and resources to the growth and development of this noble institution which is highly respected nationally and internationally.
It was never the intention of the Board of Management to air our concerns in the public domain. However, with reference to the Minister’s demand for openness and transparency and in light of the aspersions cast on the members of the Board of Management and the Administration we find it necessary to provide this response, noted in bold.
Chairman, Marjorie E. Hyatt; Vice-Chairman, Radley Reid; Principal, Sharon Reid
Based on the Minister’s statements it has been implied that:
- Andrew High is using creative means to demand payments from parents in contravention of the Ministry’s policy and that this is a corrupt act against the policy of the Government and that this is an attempt to extort funds from parents.
St. Andrew High School for Girls is owned by the Church and every effort is made to uphold the moral and ethical values of the church. It appears that a letter reminding parents that they had not yet provided the voluntary financial support requested from them is the source of the Minister’s conclusion that the school’s administration is corrupt and that they are attempting to extort funds from the parents. If that is so, then it is expected that the MOEYI would have made contact with the school so that any adjustment required could have been made. It is important to note that that letter forms a part of the End of Year report package which also includes an explanation to parents of the school’s operational expenses and the funds required to meet them. The school support contribution of $29,000.00 per year was approved by the MOEYI. (Please see Appendix 1). It should also be noted that for all incoming students’ additional information on the MOEYI’s policy of voluntary contributions is provided. (See appendix 2.3).
2. Based on the discussion aired on Nationwide on the same day, it was implied that St. Andrew High is among schools where students have been turned away from school, denied rental books and prevented from graduating because of non-payment of fees.
The school wishes to state categorically that at no time has any student has ever been turned away, denied rental books or prevented from graduating due to non-payment of fees. In fact, between September 2016 and May 2017 the school disbursed $7,045,092.00 to the 147 students on the Welfare Programme. This includes a subsidy which augments the allocation provided by the government for the additional 104 students on the PATH programme.
3. In addition, it was stated that the parents are not even aware of how the funds are being spent.
Regarding information provided to parents on the use of funds it is important to note that a comprehensive presentation on the school’s finances is made to parents by the Principal at every meeting of the Parent Teachers Association.
4. The Minister also implied that St. Andrew High is among the schools that have not been providing the financial accounts required by the Ministry of Education Youth and Information (MOEYI) and that they wanted to have a free hand to collect the money and spend it as they like without producing financial reports. He also said that there have been several reported cases of fraud among schools like those.
The provision of information to the MOEYI concerning the school’s finances:
- The annual budget is submitted to the MOEYI as per its requirements.
- A very detailed Income and Expenditure Statement consisting of 486 lines for all four accounts is submitted to the Ministry through the school’s Education Officer on a termly basis.
- The school’s finances are audited annually and submitted to the Ministry of Education. The most recent audits are for the year ending March 2016 for the Subvention Account and August 2016 for the other accounts.
- All financial information requested from the school by the MOEYI is submitted on a timely basis.
5. In the discussion on RJR’s Beyond the Headlines on the same day the Minister also stated that St. Andrew High has been given $12M to pay part time staff and they have not communicated this to the parents, yet they are using creative tactics to get more money from them.
The amount promised by the MOEYI for part time staff is in fact $11.4 million and not $12 million as stated by the Minister on several occasions. Of this sum, $5,526,711.26 has been received to date leaving an outstanding amount of $5,873,288.74. The sum of $332,000.00 is also due for Sixth Form students.
In addition, the school has been unable to claim salaries amounting to $7,154,698.54 for replacements for members of staff granted leave by the MOEYI for the period September 2015 to May 2017 despite numerous requests from the school in this regard. The last communication being dated July 20, 2017.
The total sum outstanding as at May 2017 is $13,359,987.30. The school has been forced to use the funds advanced by the MOEYI for the next academic year to cover current expenses.
6. It was also implied that St. Andrew High is among schools that have charged excessive amounts for registration packages that have been padded with unnecessary items in an effort to raise funds.
The registration package for GSAT students entering St. Andrew High School is $5,000.00 in accordance with MOEYI directive.