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HomeNewsArchivesAFT WANTS EDUCATION EMERGENCY DECLARED

AFT WANTS EDUCATION EMERGENCY DECLARED

The union that represents local public school teachers wants Gov. Charles Turnbull to declare a state of emergency for education just as he did for the territory’s wastewater system earlier this month.
Cecil Benjamin, president of the St. Croix chapter of the American Federation of Teachers, said the organization’s official position is – and has been – in support of an emergency declaration. Based on conversations with Turnbull, Benjamin said, he and St. Thomas-St. John AFT president Glen Smith thought an emergency would be declared for the Education Department just as it was for the Public Works Department two weeks ago.
Turnbull gave Public Works and associated government departments authority to obtain supplies, materials, equipment and contractual services to repair the territory's sewer system without going through the competitive bidding process.
Benjamin said the territory’s public education system has a host of problems that need emergency attention. "We have poor infrastructure and an impending exodus of teachers," he said in an interview on WSTX radio. The union leadership feels that a declaration is needed "to address these problems," he said.
Over the weekend, Turnbull’s special assistant on St. Croix, Ohanio Harris, cautioned that, with the global reach of the news media, emergency declarations can send out an undesired message about the territory. They can impact on local government efforts to obtain outside bond financing, he said, as well as scare off potential investors.
Benjamin, however, said the government "is moving too slow on positions that it should be leading on." He said he is "very disappointed" that an emergency declaration for Education hasn’t already been made.

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The union that represents local public school teachers wants Gov. Charles Turnbull to declare a state of emergency for education just as he did for the territory’s wastewater system earlier this month.
Cecil Benjamin, president of the St. Croix chapter of the American Federation of Teachers, said the organization’s official position is – and has been – in support of an emergency declaration. Based on conversations with Turnbull, Benjamin said, he and St. Thomas-St. John AFT president Glen Smith thought an emergency would be declared for the Education Department just as it was for the Public Works Department two weeks ago.
Turnbull gave Public Works and associated government departments authority to obtain supplies, materials, equipment and contractual services to repair the territory's sewer system without going through the competitive bidding process.
Benjamin said the territory’s public education system has a host of problems that need emergency attention. "We have poor infrastructure and an impending exodus of teachers," he said in an interview on WSTX radio. The union leadership feels that a declaration is needed "to address these problems," he said.
Over the weekend, Turnbull’s special assistant on St. Croix, Ohanio Harris, cautioned that, with the global reach of the news media, emergency declarations can send out an undesired message about the territory. They can impact on local government efforts to obtain outside bond financing, he said, as well as scare off potential investors.
Benjamin, however, said the government "is moving too slow on positions that it should be leading on." He said he is "very disappointed" that an emergency declaration for Education hasn’t already been made.