Categorized | Local, News

Outsourcing causes unbearable hardship to parents

The Government of Montserrat may be proud that it has begun its outsourcing programs, but there are some unhappy ‘victims’.

Some reports say the process to the outsourcing of the school bus service, school food program, and the cleaning services implementation was not a smooth one, particularly with many parents voicing concerns about the functionality of the transportation program. Some concerns were raised about the competency of the school bus drivers and the safety of the vehicles used to provide the service.

One parent who believes that her situation is identical to many others, provided information and in expressing their hurt and concern, submitted the following:

“I would like to know what the Government is really trying to do. Are they working towards keeping poor people’s children out of the educational system? It would seem so to me. From this year, 2013, I don’t see how I can afford to send my children to school.

“I have one child in Primary School and one in Preschool and at this same time last year my total expense of sending them to school was $69.00 per semester. Now the same semester costs have jumped to $900.00 per semester. The undue financial pressure is just the beginning of the stress. It seems that the excessive stress and financial pressure on single working mothers caused by the new outsourcing was not a consideration to those making the decisions!

“As of January the outsourced school bus is not taking preschool children anymore. As a working mother I have relied on my older child carrying the preschooler to school and bringing him home on the bus.

Add to that the added expense of the outsourced school lunch program which used to cost $30.00 per term and is now $20.00 a week and you have a total monthly school expense of $280.00 which is $840.00 per term. High society wealthy Montserratians are only paying $550.00 per term in sending their children to St. Augustine, what an outrage! Mr. Meade’s government is doing all they can to raise the 50% of Montserrat’s budget by making poor people pay it all, the rich need to shoulder the burden, not us!

“I am including a spreadsheet to break it all down.”

  New Rate Per Week Old Rate Per Week New Rate Per Semester (12 weeks) Old Rate Per Semester Difference
School Bus Fees

5

1.25

60

15

45

School Lunch Fees

20

2.5

240

30

210

Preschool Fees

20

2

240

24

216

Public Bus Fees ( to carry and pick up Prechooler)

30

0

360

0

360

75

5.75

900

69

831

Ag. Permanent Secretary/Director of Education Glen Francis , in a ZJB report did not speak to the new costs, but, says about the new bus service, “…we will provide the oversight and we have a mechanism for terminating the contract or to make demands on the contract to improve service…we have a mechanism that ensures that children are safe, the busses are safe and the service quality.”

Our investigation shows however, that the Primary school bus fee remains at $1.25 (Secondary at $5.00) and the preschooler now can ride on the bus at $1.25 per week, making the outlay to this parent to be $42.50 per week from $5.75.  Substantial increases will occur in September this year.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

The Government of Montserrat may be proud that it has begun its outsourcing programs, but there are some unhappy ‘victims’.

Some reports say the process to the outsourcing of the school bus service, school food program, and the cleaning services implementation was not a smooth one, particularly with many parents voicing concerns about the functionality of the transportation program. Some concerns were raised about the competency of the school bus drivers and the safety of the vehicles used to provide the service.

One parent who believes that her situation is identical to many others, provided information and in expressing their hurt and concern, submitted the following:

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“I would like to know what the Government is really trying to do. Are they working towards keeping poor people’s children out of the educational system? It would seem so to me. From this year, 2013, I don’t see how I can afford to send my children to school.

“I have one child in Primary School and one in Preschool and at this same time last year my total expense of sending them to school was $69.00 per semester. Now the same semester costs have jumped to $900.00 per semester. The undue financial pressure is just the beginning of the stress. It seems that the excessive stress and financial pressure on single working mothers caused by the new outsourcing was not a consideration to those making the decisions!

“As of January the outsourced school bus is not taking preschool children anymore. As a working mother I have relied on my older child carrying the preschooler to school and bringing him home on the bus.

Add to that the added expense of the outsourced school lunch program which used to cost $30.00 per term and is now $20.00 a week and you have a total monthly school expense of $280.00 which is $840.00 per term. High society wealthy Montserratians are only paying $550.00 per term in sending their children to St. Augustine, what an outrage! Mr. Meade’s government is doing all they can to raise the 50% of Montserrat’s budget by making poor people pay it all, the rich need to shoulder the burden, not us!

“I am including a spreadsheet to break it all down.”

  New Rate Per Week Old Rate Per Week New Rate Per Semester (12 weeks) Old Rate Per Semester Difference
School Bus Fees

5

1.25

60

15

45

School Lunch Fees

20

2.5

240

30

210

Preschool Fees

20

2

240

24

216

Public Bus Fees ( to carry and pick up Prechooler)

30

0

360

0

360

75

5.75

900

69

831

Ag. Permanent Secretary/Director of Education Glen Francis , in a ZJB report did not speak to the new costs, but, says about the new bus service, “…we will provide the oversight and we have a mechanism for terminating the contract or to make demands on the contract to improve service…we have a mechanism that ensures that children are safe, the busses are safe and the service quality.”

Our investigation shows however, that the Primary school bus fee remains at $1.25 (Secondary at $5.00) and the preschooler now can ride on the bus at $1.25 per week, making the outlay to this parent to be $42.50 per week from $5.75.  Substantial increases will occur in September this year.