Thu | Sep 21, 2017

Letter of the Day | Comedy hour starring education minister

Published:Saturday | August 5, 2017 | 8:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

This has got to be the Ministry of Education's silly season. The minister, Ruel Reid, recently accused the administrations of a few schools of practices that mirrored extortion. Less than 24 hours later, he reportedly retracts parts of his statement.

Here again, the minister's knee-jerk reaction to, in this case, complaints from parents has become commonplace. Without gathering the facts, or, at least, the principals' version, the minister delivered a tirade at a post-Cabinet briefing. He later announces that principals need to consult with the ministry if they are experiencing budgetary shortfalls because he has monies on hand to assist.

As a former principal, Minister Reid should have an appreciation of what goes into drafting a school's operational budget. He needs to reread some of the letters he wrote to parents during his tenure as principal. There is too much of a disparity between the ministry's budgetary allocation and the schools' actual funding needs as articulated by principals.

Is the minister of the view that the schools' budgets had too much fluff, and, therefore, need to be adjusted to fall in line with his figures?

Ruel Reid, the prime minister, and his Cabinet need to come clean and address the problem of school funding. Having dispensed with the previous Government's user-fee policy, it is incumbent on the current Government to adequately fund our schools. The first step ought to be reaching consensus (ministry, school boards, and principals) on what are the indispensable line items in schools' budgets.

I am now hearing that the minister has earmarked an additional $200-million-plus to the same schools (along with a few others) that he, a few days ago, lambasted for engaging in extortion and corruption. What kind of mix-up-and-blender approach to leadership is this? Signs of downright incompetence have begun to show!

RICHARD KITSON-WALTERS

richardkitsonwalters@gmail.com

Sandy Bay, Clarendon