Parents protest

first_imgMae’s 42% fee hike…call for Govt’s interventionAs the lunch break saw children playing in the nearby playground, about 20 parents with children attending the institution staged a peaceful picketing exercise in front of the Mae’s Schools at Third Avenue, Subryanville, Georgetown, calling for the administration to meet with them to discuss the hike in fees.Some of the outraged parents outside the Mae’s Schools on MondayThe parents claim that just before school closed for Easter, they received notice indicating school fees for the Christmas term will be increased by up to 42 per cent, depending on the Grade.Spokesperson for the parents, Shenera Sam, said parents are not against a reasonable increase, but the current figures are almost exploitative. She said she has two children attending the institution, and she cannot afford an extra $25,000 in fees when she has to pay as much as $50,000 for textbooks.“At this point in time my standard of living has not increased; therefore, I cannot go to my (bosses) and tell them that I now have $25,000 more in expense, that they should increase my salary. So I am here, and I will stand here for as long as I can, until the administrators decide to speak with us, come up with a reasonable increase,” she said.She opined that the move to increase the fees was a calculated one, since registration at other private schools has already closed.“What I found is that it was strategically done, so there is no way we can get these children in private schools, because all the private schools have had registration…I am very optimistic that some compassion would come up somewhere along the line in terms of the administrators, and they will find a way to help us, or for us to work it out. But what is ironic is that this same administration stood with us when we were opposing the 14 per cent VAT,” Sam noted.Additionally, Sam said the more than 170 parents are hopeful that the Government would see it fit to intervene and provide them with some satisfaction.“There are no laws or institutions governing private schools. I called the Competition and Consumer Affairs and they said because we don’t have a written contract with the school, there is nothing they can really do for us. So, we are hoping (that) with us coming out and protest, that somehow the Government would find it in their heart to intervene and help us,” Sam related.Meanwhile, at last week’s post-Cabinet press briefing, State Minister Joseph Harmon said the matter has not engaged the attention of Cabinet, but he did note that the arrangement between the private institutions and the parents is private. However, he said the Education Ministry would have to look at the increase to determine whether it was an unreasonable imposition.Mae’s Administrator, Stacey French, has said the increase is due to the school’s increased costs to do business, as well as the challenge of hiring teachers who are both motivated and experienced, in addition to overall operational costs.Another parent, Mark Singh, told the Guyana Times that the parents are out to protest since the school’s administration has been ignoring their request to meet. He said his two children are in Upper Playgroup and Upper Nursery, and he would have to find an additional $30,000 to pay when the new term comes.He explained that it is his preference to send his children to a private school, but he would not allow himself to be exploited.Meanwhile, a grandmother, Mrs Reid, (only name given) said she has four grandchildren attending the institution and that their mother is already contemplating enrolling them in the public school system.“If they raise their fees they put on a $5,000, but $15,000 is too much! The facilities (are not good), the toilet is dripping water and the ceiling leaking…$1 million a year is too much; people isn’t working for that,” she said.The parents have also called for an interim body to manage the affairs of private schools.Then Education Minister, Priya Manickchand, had tabled the Education Bill of 2014, which was read in Parliament in 2014. Then in 2017, the MoE had said the regularisation of all private education institutions will be provided for under the new Education Act.When contacted concerning the status of the new Education Act, the Education Ministry (MoE) said, “The matter has to engage Cabinet, Opposition and all other stakeholders on the matter reference to the Bill.”Additionally, the MoE was unable to confirm or deny whether the situation at the school in regard to fees was being liked into.This is not the first time that parents of children attending the Mae’s Schools are protesting a decision by the school’s administration. In May of 2016, several parents of students in Grade 5 staged a protest, claiming that they had paid $20,000 for extra lessons that were not being delivered.last_img read more

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Supervisors may delegate power

first_imgThe vote to make the CAO the single person accountable for ensuring that county government addresses its perpetual problems follows an unfruitful search for a new CAO. Some have said L.A. County government’s structure of five supervisors with equal authority could discourage qualified candidates from applying for or accepting the job. Janssen intended to retire and, in recent months, the board has offered the job to two candidates – one who rejected it outright and another who changed his mind after accepting it. As part of making the job more appealing, the supervisors on Tuesday also directed the County Counsel’s Office to draft a charter amendment for placement on the June 2008 ballot that would rename the CAO’s position as that of “county executive officer” or CEO with permanent power to hire and fire department heads. It also would include a noninterference clause, preventing the Board of Supervisors from having a part in CEO decisions. The Board of Supervisors moved a step closer Tuesday to giving Los Angeles County Chief Administrative Officer David Janssen authority over department heads – similar to power held by his counterparts in San Diego, Orange and Ventura counties. Despite fears that giving more power to Janssen could mean less accountability to taxpayers, the supervisors voted 4-1 to draft a proposed ordinance within 30 days that would give him the power to recruit department heads and recommend one candidate for board approval. The supervisors would vote later on the proposal in written form. Under the proposal, all department heads would report directly to Janssen, who could recommend that the supervisors fire one or more of them. Some political observers said the proposed ordinance could speed decision-making but might undermine accountability. “In a county as large as Los Angeles, constituents, businesses and even local governments rely very heavily on the supervisors to help solve problems and address concerns if bottlenecks occur,” said George Passantino, a senior fellow at the Reason Institute. “I’m concerned that shifting control of department heads away from the board and delegating it to the CAO could undermine your ability to do that.” “We have a unique opportunity to change our structure, not to shift power,” Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said. “Somebody asked me this past week if I’m surrendering power. I’m not surrendering power.” Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich voted against the proposal, saying giving a nonelected department head the power to make hiring and firing recommendations would strip board members of the oversight role voters elected them for. “This radical proposal comes as a result of the management style of David Janssen, not because he currently lacks the authority,” Antonovich said. “If the board moves forward with this proposal … accountability will take a back seat to political posturing.” [email protected] (213) 974-8985 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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