MLA calls for 3rd Bodden Town primary school

| 27/05/2016 | 87 Comments
Cayman news Service

Bodden Town Primary School, Grand Cayman

(CNS): Opposition MLA Alva Suckoo is calling on government to find the cash to build a third primary school in Bodden Town. Suckoo, who quit the PPM earlier this year and joined the opposition, is filing a private member’s motion asking government to use crown land in the fastest growing district in the Cayman Islands. Suckoo hopes to get the motion on the Legislative Assembly agenda as soon as possible, saying it illustrated the urgency of the problems in Bodden Town regarding education standards and the lack of resources already identified in the 2015 damning baseline reports.

Pointing to government savings as a way of funding a new primary school, the Bodden Town MLA said education should be a priority for the government. The MLA raised his concerns that, given the findings of last year’s inspections, government has been slow to address the fundamental problems in education, most of which stem from under-resourcing.

Suckoo’s motion comes alongside a petition launched by the PTA of Savannah Primary School asking for more government funding, saying there are inadequate resources to deal with kids with special educational needs and behavioral problems. The demands of the PTA reflect the challenges presented by the rapid growth in the district, where student numbers have more than doubled in the last decade.

The MLA believes the numbers are going to keep growing, and with resources already scarce at the two existing schools, despite the upgrade to Bodden Town Primary during the UDP administration, it is time for government to seriously consider a third school.

Suckoo said he is backed by his district colleague, Anthony Eden, also a former PPM member.

“Mr Eden and I have been aware of the growing resource and other issues at both Bodden Town schools for quite some time. We had hoped these would have been addressed in previous budget, and now that we are leading into an 18-month budget, we feel that if something is not done now we will not have another opportunity to address the issues for almost two years,” Suckoo told CNS, as he explained the reason for his motion.

“We hope that this motion will demonstrate the urgency of this issue and that it will prompt the government into putting education concerns across all schools at the top of their priority list.”

After parents and teachers had made representations with their concerns about student numbers and resources, Suckoo said they felt compelled to act.

“We felt it was our responsibility as leaders to provide a solution rather than to simply criticise the government,” he said, adding that he hoped his former political allies would support the motion and work with them “to ensure our students have the opportunities they deserve as these concerns have been detailed in the baseline report of 2015”.

Building schools, even basic ones, is costly, but Suckoo believes that the funding to start the project can be found by reducing spend in other areas. Suckoo said it was a matter of priorities, and with obvious holes in government revenue collection, such as rental leases, there was room to find the money, though he did not advocate any new fees or taxes to cover the ongoing costs.

PMM No. 28 – Bodden Town Primary School Needs – A. Suckoo – 20 May 2016

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  1. Anonymous says:

    At three minutes drive from a 200 million school in Frank Sound I would say Bodden Town most definitely needs another school. Only in Cayman, folks.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Isn’t the expensive but cheaply made school in Frank sound ready for more students yet?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Is there an election coming?

  4. I agree with Suckoo says:

    Wow the ppm bloggers are out in force.

    1. He highlighted the education needs for a growing district
    2. He asked for mor resources
    3. He said cut spending in other areas rather than increase the budget
    4. He asked for the system deficiencies to be addresses
    5. The Savannah PTA is calling for the same things
    6. He has said lets make educating our young people top priority

    All of this is supported by a report done in 2015 so we know the issues have continued to get worse. Making Education our first concern will address so many issues we face which already cost money like reducing the $50M we spend on social services. Why does a country with less that $100,000 people need to spend that much on social services? Why do we need more prison space? Why are middle class people slipping into poverty and losing homes etc. are we happy to simply keep increasing spending on social services and importing people to work?

    Seems to me he got it right! What did the Government do? Besides sit on a critical report for over a year? Help our children and you help the future of this country!

    • Anonymous says:

      Education is exactly what they need to worry about rather than the actual education minister concerning herself with what I do with my pension. Can’t wait to get rid of that one hit wonder.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I wished one of the politicians would have the balls to address the real issue….people breeding without having any desire to actually take on the role as a parent. Until parents are held responsible for their children’s actions (no matter who they know or how they are connected) and fathers have to pay appropriate child support for all the children they sire, you can build a school at every corner, but nothing will change!

    • Why shouldnt education be top priority says:

      How does people having children have anything to do with Government not addressing the resource issues in school?

      • Anonymous says:

        It starts at home!

        If the kids would enter school with the standard abilities they should have when they start their school lives, things would be a lot different. Unfortunately many of the kids entering the school are nowhere near the standard abilities and schools and teachers are expected to bring them up to speed! So resources like not enough teachers, not well enough experienced teachers, not enough extra help/tutors, not enough supplies, not enough fancy supplies, not enough schools etc etc is used as an excuse.

        As I said, it all starts at home and parents have to have an ongoing interest in getting their kids where they need to be, not handing them over to schools/teachers/government and expect them to perform miracles.

        My kids go to a private school, I pay a shitload of money for that, but I still have to be involved in their lives and academic progress EVERY SINGLE DAY.

        • Wow your attitude amazes me says:

          So in your view all parents of the public school system are deadbeats? Your reply is typical of the attitude that got us in this mess. Caymanians are not deserving if a 1st class education is the message you are so proudly pushing. Good for you that you can afford private school. Many of us cannot and many of us do our best to raise children and educate them. You are displaying the typical better than them attitude that has held so many Caymanians back for decades. What happens when theae kids dont get the proper education and resources they need?

          • Anonymous says:

            No, of course not! Only does who constantly complain that a lack of resources are to blame for their children not performing in school the way they should.

            • read the report says:

              Well lets see. One special education needs coordinator (part-time) and untrained in special education needs, for 100 special education needs students? Isn’t that a resource problem that falls on governments feet?

    • The Anti-Feminist says:

      Why jump on fathers like women aren’t also out pairing up their DNA with multiple partners? Some of these women will have successive boyfriends and get pregnant for each one like like its some kind of business venture. You have mothers with 4 – 5 children, all of which can’t call the same man father.

      As a women, when you’ve paired your DNA with so many men and sue them all for child support, you’re doing this as a business venture and should get a license for it accordingly. Here’s my proposal:

      1 child – congratulations. Get married now.

      Still single and breeding, see the following:

      2 children with different fathers – $2000 annually
      3 children with different fathers – $3500 annually
      4-5 children with different fathers – $6000 annually

      I believe this method should be an effective deterrent for this growing practice that we are all aware about. It might seem hard on women, but it’s not like family court ever cared about men anyway.

      Furthermore, if you want politicians to address the issue, as you said in your statement, then these fees should be able to adequately fund whatever program or solution they come up with.

      • Anonymous says:

        What about the ones that got married prior to having children and the women still don’t get support from the deadbeat fathers because they will stop at nothing to pay child support. Don’t make it seem that women are out running around.

        However, I did work with some women who you do describe. Never married and have 4+ children and every single one of the children have a different father. Lucky for them, the fathers pay child support.

  6. anonymous says: check this innovative design of an elementary school in Japan. It is time to stop building concrete boxes. Open flow schools with a roof as playground. Kids need to move a lot to stay healthy.

    • Anonymous says:

      You are deluded if you think the mentality of young Jaymaicans or Caymans is anything like that of Japan

  7. Anonymous says:

    Build as many as you want but schools don’t fail until you put people in them!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Boy, we can see politicking beginning. Make it look like you want to achieve things. Don’t worry what it costs. Blame the current government. When are we going to learn? The same thing happens each election cycle.

  9. Face says:

    Another structure would be useful but will not be the solution to the growing concerns regarding public education in the Cayman Islands. A good teacher can reach under a tree, with a slate board and students will still learn. We need to address ALL the problems from the top down.

  10. Anonymous says:

    More Jaymaicans calling the shots an hiring their kind will help.

  11. Anonymous says:

    We just need more Jamaican teachers so students can learn their culture and how to be racists when then grow up.

    • Anonymous says:

      Anonymous says:
      28/05/2016 at 8:25 am
      Anonymous says:
      28/05/2016 at 10:27 am

      It is Caymanians like you who continue to spill division and hatred in this country. Like it or not, the Jamaicans are here to stay and make their contributions to the betterment of these islands. You obviously do not know the caliber of Jamaicans in high and important positions in these islands. I will not list not even one here, but do your research and you will find out. Stop your ignorant comments and bashing of Jamaicans who have and continue to contribute enormously to these islands. Get over your hateful ways and see not only the trees but the forest.

  12. Anonymous says:

    why, so he can continue to support poor education in Cayman Islands. Buildings don’t educated people.

    • surprise surprise says:

      “Buildings don’t educated people”, miss school much ? sheesh and you are offering an opinion on education?

  13. Anonymous says:

    Text books are not the issue. Good teaching, children coming to school prepared for their school day, parental support are all more significant than a text book.

  14. Sharkey says:

    @ Some people can’t read , yes some can read , but they just picked the one part of the article to discuss / comment / debate ,

  15. My favourite MLA is Al Suckoo says:

    Stand up for your district Suckoo. Thats why we voted for you.

  16. Just Askin' says:

    Will they be allowing gay children to attend this school?

  17. Anonymous says:

    Now you see where Alva is focused, still sound like PPM though, want to build buildings but no one wants to address accountability and lack of ability of teachers to manage classes.

    I want statistics on teacher-student ratio in Jamaica since all our teachers are coming from there and do nothing but complain about resources, let’s get info on what they have there and their results. Caymanian leaders need to start ending contracts then you’ll see how more appreciative they have for the opportunities. This entitlement attitude must be examined in all participants.

    The schools I saw there were filled with teachers WHO didn’t discriminate but encouraged an environment of learning for students yet this is sadly missing here and blame placed on parents, resources etc etc

    But Thanks to UDP, blind Caymanians Alva wants brand new school for his status holders’ children…. future voters

  18. Some people cant read says:

    Education is really lacking among CNS readers. The man didnt ask for just a school he also asked for the resource issues to be addressed.

    • Anonymous says:

      There is no resource issue, just poor teaching, poor management and a department of education that has some very questionable abilities leading it.

      • Why shouldnt education be top priority says:

        Did you read the report? Or just decided to post out of ignorance?

  19. Anonymous says:

    Why does Cayman Brac have so many (at least 3 functioning) primary schools? close one in the Brac and reallocate resources.

    CNS: Sorry, but you are way behind the times. The Brac has two functioning primary schools following the amalgamation of Spot Bay and Creek schools in 2003. Instead of building a new facility, the Creek and Spot Bay Primary school functions over two campuses, with Reception through Year 3 at the Creek facility and Years 4-6 at Spot Bay. The issue now is whether to amalgamate the two schools into one. It has been suggested that the “Hurricane Hilton” – a large useless building on the Bluff by the playfield, built as a hurricane shelter – could be the basis for this new single primary school.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Is it true that Year 6 primary students are Only taught math & English?
    How can they be prepared for high school with no sciences, humanities etc.??
    Can someone confirm this question please.

    • Anonymous says:

      No that is not true.

    • Anonymous says:

      This person has asked a question and in doing so gets some thumbs down. Wtf

    • Anonymous says:

      Thanks all. I see seven thumbs up.
      I assume those are seven people who can confirm that the Year 6 are, in fact, NOT taught any Sciences.
      Can anyone comment to confirm this.
      If it is true then it says a lot about their high school preparations.
      I asked this question after being told this by the Year 6 pupils themselves, who shockingly demonstrate a dearth of knowledge about basic sciences.

      • Anonymous says:

        I have just said, no that is not true! I work in a primary school and no that is not true. Would you like it in Russian? Maybe you will see my answer then. No that is not true. In primary school they teach all subjects including a foreign languages. That means they teach social studies, RE, PE music, Spanish, ICT, art and of course maths and English which is taught every day.

  21. Anonymous says:

    ALL the primary schools need urgent help!
    It doesn’t matter what percentage are locals. All kids should mix and share freely.
    Yes, parents should contribute as much as they can, as a range of great extra kids’ services are offered for free or almost free eg music, sports etc.
    But, economics or nationality should not be an issue.
    Local teachers need to be treated better also, and encouraged to stay or return to teaching.
    Some hidden realities: some expat treat local kids like crap!
    Yes. most of the others are great, loving teachers who give health, heart and time to help kids. 1 teacher cannot adequately help 25+ kids with different needs. They need aides or support teachers.
    Better support networks are needed, esp including home, school, parents & kids; as well as other agencies which rarely communicate (eg health / RCIPS) need to combine their efforts in the interest of kids.

  22. Sharon Bodden says:

    I think it is absolutely absurd to even consider building another primary school in BT until the new John Gray High School construction is finished! That construction site has been left alone for 6 years now and both of my CAYMANIAN children have had to attend the dilapidated JGHS campus that has mold in most of the classrooms and the walkways flood with a small amount of rain. In these times, 2016, our children should be able to go to a safe place to learn and not suffer from illness that could be prevented by a cleaner and better classroom environment. How many schools to the Government want to start building and never finish?? Alva, how ’bout you promote the current building sites to get completed and then work toward providing more classrooms for the growing BT district? Oh, not logical enough? It all boils down to mere common sense.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes the John Gray High School should be finished, that does not mean that Bodden Town does not need another primary school. You are concerned about your children and the parents of the primary schools are concerned about theirs. As a matter of fact if the primary schools are not functioning properly then it is a given that the High Schools will continue to fail. They say that hind sight is 20/20 vision but if the Past Minister of Education who is now the Premier had listen to the public’s outcry when he was planning to build tha Clifton Hunter High School we could have had a more subdued Clifton Hunter, John Gray High School would have been finished and Bodden Town could have had the 3rd primary school for the money he poured into Clifton Hunter. pray tell who is the one lacking in common sense??

    • Anonymous says:

      No one is forcing your kids to go to JGHS
      Sell the boat, the jet ski, the gold jewelry, the $50,000 truck and invest in your child education.

      • Anonymous says:

        Anonymous says:
        28/05/2016 at 8:50 am
        Ignorant, you can only sell legally what is yours. Not everyone has a boat, jet ski etc to sell. What is your point?

  23. Anonymous says:

    We need another primary school in West Bay — Cumber is totally over crowded — what about it Tara?

  24. Sharkey says:

    I wonder if these politicians knows that it’s not the building that makes a good school . Did I hear him say that Bodden Town needs a third primary school , why ? What is the population of Bodden Town today ? But these politicians must have money trees growing in Cayman that they are not telling us about .

    • Anonymous says:

      This is why he pushed for OMOV. soon all 19 Districts will want there own school.

      • Anonymous says:

        He pushed for OMOV so that there would be equity in voting in Cayman as is done in every other country in the world. I do realise he has a huge struggle on his hands trying to drag the Cayman Islands into the 21 st century. Obviously you prefer obsolete, backward rules. Not Mr. SUckoo’s fault if you cannot see beyond your nose.

  25. Anonymous says:

    As a Caymanian…I think the government should finish 1 school before starting another. Just my opinion.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Fishin’n for votes

  27. Jotnar says:

    Every time an MLA introduces a private members bill intended to increase spending in their constituency, they should be asked to provide a proposal on which other line items in the budget should be cut to pay for it. Otherwise you just end up promising your electors the earth, moon and stars without any responsibility for how its going to be paid for, and simply blame the government when its not delivered.

  28. Anonymous says:

    what percentage of the children in public schools are Caymanians? does someone know this answer? Also, where does government keep finding money for schools, airports, etc. When will the next stamp duty hike be?

    • Anonymous says:

      what percentage of children are single parent children?

    • Anonymous says:

      Expatriates (those who do not have the right to be Caymanian yet) are not allowed to enrol their kids in public school – does that answer your question?

      The government does need to address schools and the airport – both are overcrowded. The government needs to address ALL issues affecting the islands and not cherry pick the popular or ‘sexy’ ones. This is exactly where their attention should be.

      • Anonymous says:

        Your first statement is incorrect. Please research properly before spewing false statements.

        • Jotnar says:

          Ok, so to avoid “spewing false statements” how about, “you are technically entitled to register your child in public school, but Caymanian children get priority, followed by descendants of Caymanians, so as there are not enough spaces to go around you can whistle (but you get to pay your share of the cost of providing said education, irrespective of whether you pay the private schools for your child”. Happy now?

        • Anonymous says:

          Children of work permit holders are generally NOT allowed to attend government schools.

          A very small number of students whose parents work for the CIG are permitted to attend government schools, but they DO pay an additional tuition fee.

          3:29 – you check _your_ facts.

          • Anonymous says:

            The tuition fee is almost not worth mentioning. Thousands of foreign children have enjoyed education in government schools in recent years, many of them being the children of cabinet status grant recipients who moved here in the years following. Check your facts!

      • Sharkey says:

        I agree 1:26pm very good point that the Government need to address . I don’t think that one should be able to come to the country make tax free income, and free schooling for their kids, and causing over crowing in the schools, and causing government to have to build more schools , on the government and the citizens .

        I think that the school issue really really need to be addressed.

      • Anonymous says:

        children of civil servants on contracts are allowed to send their children to government schools so with majority of civil servants from Jamaica (contracts, status grants especially of 2003) the new schools are being built to accommodate them……. since they are new Caymanians and have not been taxed before this point as parents or new employees there should be an increase in school fees comparable to private schools, at least half the tuition.

        I was told of a Jamaican who came to work in a Ministry last year and brought 4 children who are now in public schools, and although on a contract we know no matter what that will be renewed if she wants it and most likely will and then we will have four more students in line for scholarships and jobs.

        Isn’t it time we start charging Jamaica for being their main employer? we’re basically being forced to raise Jamaicans, provide jobs and opportunities and the level of remittances leaving it is clear we are not thinking about our future properly and fairly.

      • Anonymous says:

        Expat Children
        It is the Cayman Islands government’s stance that expatriates employed in the private sector who qualify to have their dependants on-Island with them (i.e. earn over CI$3,500 per month and have two dependants on their permit), should educate their children in private schools. If the government employs the expatriate, then the employee has the option of sending their children to a government school if there is space.


    • Anonymous says:

      All plus gov worker kids.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Its high time CIG re-introduces book fees at all levels of education. It is beyond absurd for tax players to subsidize responsibilities which should be handled by parents.

    • Anonymous says:

      In other parts of the world parents have to pay for their children’s education. Nearby countries, their children are not provided with free lunch, uniforms, books, transportation and the lists goes on and on. Too many children are brought here, with learning disabilities, and our schools and medical services are expected to provide those services fre of cost. Those who cannot speak English, their parents are demanding government to provide tutoring services. Why are they being allowed to bring those children here? When the parent/s came to the Cayman Islands to work, how was those children taken care of or provided for? Stop expecting government to provide for the world at large. Learn to pay your way, or down size your family, by not have children, who you are not able to adaquately provide for.

      • Anonymous says:

        Ha! Get real!

        Students in the government schools are certainly not provided with free lunch, uniforms, or books. In fact, all students even get billed for their exam entries, unlike many other state school systems in the world.

        They do get the school buses, granted.

        Moreover, children of work permit holders are generally not allowed to enrol in government schools in the first place. The rare student without Caymanian status (usually the child of a CIG employee) has to pay additional school tuition anyway.

        Even if students without Caymanian permanent residency could go to government schools – their parents with their work permit fees ultimately contribute at least as much to the public purse as Caymanian parents who don’t even necessarily work at all.

    • Anonymous says:

      SURE – but only if they give us books.
      which is something that is badly needed anyways as teachers have to copy & scrape info to find whatever they can and parents n pupils cannot study ahead or review with no textbooks.

      • Anonymous says:

        The textbook world that you live in does not exist anymore in primary school ( well it shouldn’t). Texts books do not cater for individual children. Children are not a type of clothing where one size fits all. Teachers need to be planning for the difference abilities in their classroom not giving them a text book to walk themselves through. This type of teaching is now called lazy teaching. Children need to be stimulated not bored to death by questions and answers from a text book. I wish parents would get out their dinosaur caves and actually find out what their children do in schools these days. It might help their children to succeed.

      • Lo-cal says:

        Why books? Give each child a tablet $120.00 and download all the material. This is a one time fee for each new student and that takes care of the reordering of materials.

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