Of the 33 public schools the Mapp administration is preparing for the 2018-19 school year, 20 of them will be ready to accept students on September 4, while more than a dozen of the facilities won’t be prepared to house students, Governor Kenneth Mapp announced at a press conference Tuesday morning, held to address the reopening of school set for next week.
At the media event, held at Government House on St. Croix, Mr. Mapp said about ten of the schools will not open on time. Instead, he gave tentative dates of the 17th and 24th of September.
St. Croix school sites opening on Tuesday, September 4:
Alfredo Andrews Elementary School
Alexander Henderson Elementary School
Pearl B. Larsen Elementary School
Juanita Gardine Elementary School
Ricardo Richards Elementary School
Claude O. Markoe Elementary School
John H. Woodson Junior High School
Elena Christian Junior High School (to be housed at the Manor School complex in La Grande Princesse)
Central High School
St. Croix Educational Complex (along with the Career & Technical Education Center, the Adult Education Program and the Alternative Education Program)
The St. Thomas-St. John District school sites opening on Tuesday, September 4:
Joseph Sibilly Elementary School
Jane E. Tuitt Elementary School
Leonard Dober Elementary School
Ulla F Muller Elementary School
Wheatley Skills Center
The Alternative Education Program
Bertha C. Boschulte Middle School
Schools projected to open on September 17th in the St. Thomas-St. John District:
Charlotte Amalie High School
Ivanna Eudora Kean High School
Joseph Gomez Elementary School
Julius Sprauve School (St. John)
Yvonne Bowsky Elementary School
Addelita Cancryn Junior High School (the school site will be at the field at CAHS)
Lockhart Elementary (students from Gladys A. Abraham Elementary School will merge with Lockhart)
Schools projected to open on September 17th in St. Croix:
Lew Muckle Elementary School
Eulalie Rivera Elementary School
The governor said Arthur Richards Junior High School would most likely not be ready by September 24, as contractor AECOM is still laying foundations for the units being installed at the site. During a media tour in July, AECOM and Department of Education (D.O.E.) officials told The Consortium that the site would be ready by August 28.
D.O.E. had said on multiple occasions that all the schools being worked on by contractor AECOM, which is preparing modular classrooms across the territory, would be ready for the September 4 opening of school. But during today’s press conference, Mr. Mapp cast blame of the delay on the company, stating that he was disappointed in their performance.
“Last evening on my way to St. Croix, I met with the vice president of AECOM and their council, and I expressed my disappointment in their inability to meet the deadlines under the contracts that they signed,” Mr. Mapp said. “AECOM knows that we’re not satisfied with their level of performance,” he later added.
The governor said he toured multiple job sites where the modular units are being erected, “and some of the sites we just can’t have students while the finishing of the construction is being done,” including electrical work, the governor said. “I just do not believe it is safe to just try to open all of the schools for the sake of saying we got them opened on time, when we believe that our children and our professional staff will be in harms way,” he added.
Asked by The Consortium whether D.O.E. should have been more prudent when it announced that all the schools would be ready, Ms. McCollum sidelined the question, stating that D.O.E. was making its statements based on the word of the contractor.
Even so, Governor Kenneth Mapp said he was pleased that all students would be off of double sessions for the upcoming school year.
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