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Too much $$ to fix problem school

By SUE-ANN WAYOW sue-ann.wayow@trinidadexpress.com

BUILDING CONTRACTORS are asking for too much money from the Ministry of Education to repair Princes Town West Secondary School.
For this reason, the Ministry has re-issued tenders for the project, according to an Education Ministry source.

Parents of pupils attending the school walked through the streets of Matilda in another protest on Monday.

They attempted to speak with the Member of Parliament for Princes Town, Nela Khan, at her office, but she was not there.

Carol Lutchman, president of the school's Parent Teacher Association (PTA), said a meeting was held with Education Facilities Company Limited (EFCL) last week and she was told work will begin on the school's auditorium the first week in May.

When that was completed, work will start on the school's technical areas, she said. However, she added that a subsequent meeting was held and the PTA was told the Ministry lacked the requested funding.

But the reason for the protest Monday was for relocation of the pupils.
If there was no word from Ministry officials by Thursday regarding relocation, parents would be protesting outside Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar's office in St Clair, Lutchman said.

Since January, most pupils have not been attending school.
Only the fifth and sixth forms were being accommodated, Lutchman said. "The teachers are not going to come out and teach in school because of the problems. If the Ministry relocates the children, they are willing to come out and teach the children."

Lutchman said she was told by Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh to ask the principal of neighbouring Princes Town East Secondary School to accommodate pupils in the interim.
"The Minister also suggested transferring children to other schools. Some parents have done that. They have taken their children out and placed them in other schools and now those schools are filled. Now children have to travel to far as Marabella and Mayaro to go to school just because of these problems."

She said while some pupils may be able to get accommodation soon, there was still no assistance for the forms one, two and four.
Khan said she was aware of the school's situation but there was little she could do to assist. Khan said she has been liaising with the Education Ministry concerning the issue.
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