SLP Island Council Members denied a Public Meeting regarding SCS challenges

On April 18, 2017 the Saba Labor Party (SLP) fraction requested for a public meeting on April 26, 2017 to have the Executive Council address the Island Council regarding the recent developments pertaining to the high school, Saba Comprehensive School (SCS). The SLP fraction was made aware of the crucial financial challenges of the SCS financial status via a Facebook post on April 12, 2017.

The matter regarding security of much needed finances from the SCS School Board with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the Dutch Inspectorate in The Netherlands according to the letter on Facebook is alarming. The letter from the School Board referenced that there have been efforts to “persuade the Ministry of Education that more financial support is needed given the uniqueness of the SCS” however their attempts per the letter on April 12, 2017 were “unsuccessful”.

Cognizant of the fact that the Saba Comprehensive School (SCS) is an independent body under the instruction of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science that is operated by a school board a detailed overview of the educational body should have been provided to the Island Council by the Commissioner of Education with the motives and actions of the Island Government of Saba to support the School Board outlined. Since this governing period no concerns were raised regarding the financial challenges of the school were noted.

The SLP Fraction was denied on April 18, 2017 the meeting by the Island Governor Jonathan Johnson under the view that “the Executive Council is not the competent authority” to address this matter. The SLP fraction specifically requested for a public meeting with the Executive Council regarding the Saba Comprehensive School changes, which will be affecting the students, academic team and parents effective the 2017-2018 school year. Governor Johnson did however suggest having the Island Council and Executive Council have a meeting with the school board regarding the matter. A compromise was made with the fraction to have the Commissioner of Education address the matter with the Island Council however all attempts to have a briefing about the changes in the school system has not been approved by the remaining Council members. A follow-up email was submitted to the Island Governor for the meeting, which has not been responded to up to the date of this article.

Good governance and collaboration in the interest of the youth of our Saban community has to be a priority. The SLP Fraction is hereby not relenting on the fact that all efforts on the behalf of the Island Government has to be enforced to ensure that the quality and quantity of education is provided in the upcoming and future academic years providing a sound foundation for the youth of Saba.

Press release SLP.

Grants for children groups in Caribbean Netherlands
Job shadowing for SCS students (updated)

10 comments

  1. Again this school in shambles which now coming out even though we been saying this for three years. No surprise this all fall under WIPM again and SLP not afraid to say so. I hear seven teachers is gone and not being replaced and our kids education is suffering.Math teacher already gone so who is teaching? Nothing has been good in that school since Mr Hemmie left and I say it again that it get worse every year with this man targeting good Caribbean teachers. This board worse than the last and allow Dutch to take over but no surprise there as we all know who sit on it and what they done to there own blood hmmmm. School all be Dutch soon

  2. Concerned and pissed

    I seriously don’t understand how this situation at the SCS has escalated to such a state ,badly in need of financial support.There you have the school continuous emphasizing about students having to be present at school for no less than a certain number of days because being absent too many times can reflect on that ginsl report.now with this present situation of less teachers and less classes.Tell me foes that not reflect on the capacity of knowledge a child is going to receive?this situation is a very poor reflection on those ion charge .How God it get to this point.medical and education should be prioritized. This current situation is in acceptable.

  3. What I dont hear is where is the Commissioner of Education in all this mess. This is our future and now the education is in jepardy but not a sound from him. The SCS school board sent two letters out to parents. First one said that there would be significant cuts to classroom time and staff and then the second letter trying to explain the first. This is a small island and the community been hearing things for the past three years about the school and it goes from bad to worse yet nobody speaks up anymore
    Were is the parent commity in this? What about the teachers and why dont they comment or they not allowed to. I agree with the other poster that things has gone downhill since Mr Hemmie left the school so why not brings him back to fix it for the second time like he did last time over. I hears this current board is trying to blame him for the finances but what they only find this out 3 years after the fact! That dont seem right and that means the former board is to blame as dont they handle all the money
    Funny that the Caribbean or I says it BLACK teachers were let go. Very sad for the kids as some have been here so long and have kids in the school. Mr Khan works with all the kids in sports and he now leaving.This is not right and I hope the Dutch government looking at this as they did the last time and get rid of this board once and for all as they ruining our kids future and how they gonna go to all these schools that Commissioner Zagers set up when they cant even get a good high school education. makes no sense and the community and parents should demand a meeting with the board and director and see what they have to say and who is to blame.

  4. I would really like to know what Saba Guru’s thoughts are on all this, as it appears that they were indeed correct this entire time and they tried to warn everyone about what was going on behind closed doors. I feel very bad that the students education will now be substandard.

  5. Worried parent

    That school has gone to hell in a hand basket. When we attended SCS our teachers cared for us and were interested in their teaching and our learning. They also reached 2-3 subjects, but we all passed our classes.
    Over the years I have noticed that the teachers that are-were hired are only on a 1years contract and then they were let go. They were some of the good ones. Then they turn to hire people who were not properly qualified and or who had or have no interest in helping our children succeed.
    What is going to happen now to our children. First they talking about all the different upgrades and advances for the new school year and how and what the children will be thaught. Now they are telling us that they have to let some of the teachers go because the school is in financial difficulties. WHAT HAPPENS TO OUR CHILDREN NOW???? I have 2 children who have to go to this high school, what is their experience going to be like, how will they be thaught? Is the CXC_CCLSC programs going to be in effect still? The parents and the community have not been informed. Only last week we got letters from the school board stating there is no money to keep majority of the teachers and some will have to teach more than one subject. What really is the deal here and what is really going on?? As a parent i would like some answers!!!!!!

  6. Standingupformychild

    What I find most troubling is that under the current board and leadership at the Saba Comprehensive School, parents were simply sent a letter home a few weeks ago stating that due to the financial situation, major cuts to teaching staff and school hours would be in place for the upcoming school year. It has now come to light that the school board and Director of the school knew about the financial situation for over two years. Therefore I have to ask why was the community and government not informed then? Perhaps if they were, a contingency plan could have been put in place so as to avoid all this. I, like many others in the community, have heard various stories regarding why the school is now in such a dire financial situation, yet I don’t see the school board or the current Director taking any accountability. Instead they appear to point fingers and lay blame at previous Directors (Boeken and Van Xanten) and their corresponding school boards for the financial status at SCS, rather than taking any responsibility that they have been entrusted. So my question is, what have they been doing for the past three years?

    It just seems to be one thing after another with SCS and now my child lacks a Math and Science teacher, who will most likely not be replaced until the next school year. Our children are promised a quality education under Dutch law, but how can this even be considered as such? Teachers who have been with the school for several years and who are actively involved in the community are being dismissed, yet somehow the administration seems to think that teachers from overseas will still come over here to work. I believe this to be very wishful thinking on their part, as there is clearly no job security for any teaching staff on Saba.

    In my opinion, Director Van Xanten should have never been dismissed from SCS, as he singlehandedly revamped and revitalized the school. This continuing downward spiral occurred after his departure. and now it appears that the school, under the so called leadership of someone clearly incompetent and lacking any vision, has been run into the ground. Anyone with children at SCS have noted that over the course of the past three years the quality of education has decreased, the overall school environment has become more hostile and there is clearly a dissatisfied staff, yet nothing was or has been done about it. How did the inspectors from Holland turn a blind eye to this, as they come over quite frequently. Can they not see what the rest of us have observed! The sad part is that the school is now in this position and the ones that will suffer the most will be our children.

    I feel very sorry for the current students enrolled at the school and for the staff that seemingly are completely undervalued by their employer. If this was anywhere else in the world, the board and the director would have been dismissed a long time ago for their gross incompetence and negligence, but this is Saba and everyone just sits back and is too afraid to take a stand. I am a big supporter of Commissioner Zagers, but am thoroughly disappointed that he has yet to address this issue with the community. like several other parents, I will fight for my child’s rights to a good education, and am fortunate enough to be in a financial position to enrol them in private school next year. That’s how grave the situation at the school has become and I hope other parents take this as seriously as I and others are. Let’s hope that the Dutch government are listening and will step in, as it is ridiculous that less than three years after the last upheaval, SCS is in turmoil again. The difference this time is our kids and the quality of their education is directly affected due an inefficient board and amateurish leadership. Enough is enough!

    • I can only fully agree with the article written by Standingupformychild. I have been writing various articles in the past who were questioned by certain people about it’s validity and accuracy. Now, two years later, after my last response, it all becomes very clear that what I was telling you then is indeed not based on nonsense but on facts.

      Indeed we deal with a non-functional management who has shown over the years to neglect democracy, input from others and most of all, act as a dictatorial institute where any difference in opinion, educational and racial background has been ignored and not appreciated since this could harm the fragile situation of management. A classic example of incompetent and unqualified management who is trying to save their situation by bullying, reprimanding and opposing on those who are seen as irritating, to outspoken and not important.
      All of this resulting in a current situation that I described two years ago. Financial mismanagement, unfamiliar with laws, regulations and temporary measures coming from the ministry of OCW, a complete incompetent behavior towards personal affairs, no passion and enthusiasm for the student population but an overflowing admiration for Dutch inspectorate and Ministry.

      As a result of this we now have a school board and school management who are trying to please the Dutch educational ministry and all it’s departments in order to score for their personal benefit in the future.
      This leaves us with a secondary school, where the once developed vision and mission of working together, appreciating and respecting each other, passion and harmony, has been ripped apart and destroyed, leaving an empty shell behind. But who cares? Those who are coming to Saba for a short time, reap the fruits and leave again ones pockets are full. Others, like the board, allow those to fill their pockets without blinking an eye.

      The conclusion of this all is that we have seen a development over the years where race, nationality and personality has become a big issue, directly reflecting on our students. As parents we all knew about this, but kept silent. Now, when it all comes at the surface, we are flabbergasted and amazed about this, but I told you already years ago what was happening and no one took action.

      I am very sorry that the students again, after 5 years, have to pay the price for adult mismanagement, observed and guided by officials from the educational department in The Hague and Bonaire, and the local school board and elected officials.

      Dear students, you have a right to proper education. Stand up for your rights and demand a correct educational system where each of you can obtain an individual level of excellence.
      Let us parents not just write comments and blow off steam but come together and demand a public meeting with the school board, RCN representatives, government officials and the general public to hear and discuss the future of our only secondary school on the island and keep those responsible for the situation the school is in at the moment.

      Saba Guru

  7. Sitting on the Sidelines

    I would like to comment on the wailing and gnashing of teeth now that we’ve all discovered the depth of SCS’s financial distress and that the only solution, according to the director and the board, is to terminate teachers and to eliminate courses.

    It is unimportant that this problem began three years ago when the then board decided to terminate certain teachers and the director and gave all the new teachers three year contracts. It is unimportant that this specific problem was exacerbated because everyone for the past three years focused on trying to determine who Saba-Guru was rather than reading what he or she wrote and acting accordingly. It is unimportant that in the past students and parents protested. Some teachers protested yet nothing changed.

    You demanded reform. Parents wanted representation on the board. Parents asked to have a voice in the selection of board members. Many talked loudly and vigorous and at times drown out all the other voices in the chorus while others did nothing.

    Many believed that when the Vo-raad arrived they would fix the problem, only to be disappointed once again. Parents were also told by the management that the Participation Council would be your voice, yet again you were disappointed. What is the solution?

    The solution is you, “the parents”. Only you can fix the problem. You have a choice. You can determine your child’s future or you can allow the board and this director to do it for you.

    Taking your child out of school and sending him or her to a private school is not a solution. Complaining on Saba – News is not going to solve the problem. Demanding a meeting is not going to solve the problem because the school is a private foundation that answers to no one. Going to see the Commissioner of Education is not going to solve the problem because he has a conflict of interest, his wife is on the management team.

    It takes a united group of parents to stop everything. Parents need to unite and sue the foundation and the director on grounds that they have failed in their responsibilities to provide your child with an education.

    Remembering the past is not going to solve the problem cause you cannot change it.

  8. I hope the Dutch send people over again to fix this out for our kids and fire this board and get rid of these foundations as they create trouble and confusion and people only sits on them to make money.
    We should seek a good lawyer and fix them so and they have the nerve to be paid yet claming the school so poor. Why they only a party of three and they pick people to be part of the board to carry out anything FW wants. they should let Holland run the school as every few years this happenng and also on the other islands. Time to fight back once and for all. Sabaguru always been correct from the jump!
    (Shortened by editor)

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