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HomeNewsArchivesMOOD OF TEACHERS IS CALM, DETERMINED

MOOD OF TEACHERS IS CALM, DETERMINED

The mood of teachers outside Addelita Cancryn Junior High School on St. Thomas was one of calm determination Wednesday morning, the first day of the teachers strike, as they stood in clusters bearing signs and faint smiles. Strong support was signaled by drivers honking their horns on Veterans Drive, and many gave the thumbs-up to the teachers.
"We'll be here until we get a resolution," said Barbara Bailey, who has taught English at the school for 23 years. Roi Simmonds, Cancryn union representative and 25-year history teacher, said, "We spend our own money for supplies-we haven't had a raise since 1993."
Both teachers noted the school's hall monitors make more than new teachers. Hall monitors start at $27,000, and new teachers start at $22,000. "It's not fair," they agreed. The hall monitors, Simmonds said, have no technical skills and simply have to be high school graduates.
Richard Fater, who has taught math for 28 years-three at Lockhart Elementary and 25 at Cancryn-said, "this has gone on for years and years. It's time they did something." Rochelle Jackson Todman, who has taught physical education at the school for 20 years, echoed Fater's remarks, "They've got to,"she agreed. Leba Olaniyi, who is in his 21st year of teaching art at the school, said, "We want a decent and just wage."
The five teachers-with more than a hundred combined years of teaching at Cancryn, going back to the days when the school was called Wayne Aspinall-agreed they could not afford to forego 50 percent of their retro wages, as the administration had proposed in its offer. "What about our retirement," Bailey said, "That would really affect it."
Senatorial candidate Glen Smith joined the teachers, bearing a sign that said the governor was "giving money to Ritz-Carlton and Caneel Bay." He said, "He is giving away more money. Something is wrong here with no dollars in the coffers." Smith in on leave from his position as president of the St. Thomas-St. John Federation of Teachers while he coducts his senatorial campaign.
Fater said the teachers would convene at Emancipation Garden later in the morning, and make a decision about their next step, possibly a march on Government House.

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The mood of teachers outside Addelita Cancryn Junior High School on St. Thomas was one of calm determination Wednesday morning, the first day of the teachers strike, as they stood in clusters bearing signs and faint smiles. Strong support was signaled by drivers honking their horns on Veterans Drive, and many gave the thumbs-up to the teachers.
"We'll be here until we get a resolution," said Barbara Bailey, who has taught English at the school for 23 years. Roi Simmonds, Cancryn union representative and 25-year history teacher, said, "We spend our own money for supplies-we haven't had a raise since 1993."
Both teachers noted the school's hall monitors make more than new teachers. Hall monitors start at $27,000, and new teachers start at $22,000. "It's not fair," they agreed. The hall monitors, Simmonds said, have no technical skills and simply have to be high school graduates.
Richard Fater, who has taught math for 28 years-three at Lockhart Elementary and 25 at Cancryn-said, "this has gone on for years and years. It's time they did something." Rochelle Jackson Todman, who has taught physical education at the school for 20 years, echoed Fater's remarks, "They've got to,"she agreed. Leba Olaniyi, who is in his 21st year of teaching art at the school, said, "We want a decent and just wage."
The five teachers-with more than a hundred combined years of teaching at Cancryn, going back to the days when the school was called Wayne Aspinall-agreed they could not afford to forego 50 percent of their retro wages, as the administration had proposed in its offer. "What about our retirement," Bailey said, "That would really affect it."
Senatorial candidate Glen Smith joined the teachers, bearing a sign that said the governor was "giving money to Ritz-Carlton and Caneel Bay." He said, "He is giving away more money. Something is wrong here with no dollars in the coffers." Smith in on leave from his position as president of the St. Thomas-St. John Federation of Teachers while he coducts his senatorial campaign.
Fater said the teachers would convene at Emancipation Garden later in the morning, and make a decision about their next step, possibly a march on Government House.