82.1 F
Charlotte Amalie
Sunday, July 3, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesA Draft of the Fifth Constitution of the Virgin Islands

A Draft of the Fifth Constitution of the Virgin Islands

A Draft of Articles VIII and IX of the Fifth Constitution of the Virgin Islands.
*These drafts are subject to further review by legal counsel.

ARTICLE VIII LOCAL GOVERNMENT

POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS; CREATION, POWERS

Section 1. The Senate shall create a political subdivision embodying St. John, St. Croix and St. Thomas, and provide for the framework for the government thereof. The Senate may not create a political subdivision within any of the islands, except with the approval of the majority of the voters voting on the question on the island which is to be subdivided. Each political subdivision shall have and exercise such powers as shall be conferred by law.
LOCAL SELF-GOVERNMENT

Section 2. Each political subdivision shall have the power to adopt its own framework for self-government within such limits and under such procedures as may be provided by law. The framework for self-government shall be created by a commission composed of members elected from said subdivision established by law. The Senate shall provide for the election of commissions within one year of ratification of this Constitution.
TAXATION AND FINANCE

Section 3. The power to tax shall be reserved to the Senate, but a political subdivision may petition the Senate to impose a tax to be utilized solely by said political subdivision.
MANDATES, ACCRUED CLAIMS

Section 4. No law shall be passed mandating any political subdivision to pay any previously accrued claim.
GENERAL LAWS

Section 5. This Article shall not limit the power of the Senate to enact laws of general concern, and no political subdivision may infringe upon this power.
ARTICLE IX EDUCATION

EDUCATIONAL PHILOSOPHY

It is the goal of the Virgin Islands to provide its citizens with a free, high-quality, public education system that does not discriminate against any citizen, preserves the African history, culture and traditions of the people of the Virgin Islands, and prepares its citizens to compete globally.
Section 1. Public Education System
(a) The government shall provide for a free, high-quality, public education system that includes early childhood, elementary, middle, secondary, career and technical higher education.
(b) The early childhood, elementary, middle education and secondary education shall be compulsory and shall begin at the earliest age when a child has the mental and physical capacity for classroom learning.
(c) The system shall maintain state of the art technology and up-to-date textbooks in the classrooms.
(d) The system shall maintain the smallest class size possible to ensure that each student receives a high-quality education, but in any case, the class size shall not have more than 15 in grades K-7, and no more than 20 in grades 8-12.
Section 2. Funding
(a) The V.I. Legislature shall provide the funding necessary to obtain and maintain a free, high-quality, public education system.
(b) The V.I. Legislature shall establish and maintain the Virgin Islands Fund for Education.
(c) The fund shall be supported by appropriations and allotments from the General Fund, which shall include at least 50 percent of all earnings derived from legal and illegal games of chance in the territory.
(d) The Virgin Islands Fund for Education shall, to the greatest extent possible, be guaranteed an annual budget of not less than thirty percent (30%) of the general revenues of the territory, designated only for the support of the objectives stated in these provisions, that shall not be reprogrammed.
Section 3. Virgin Islands Board of Education
(a) A Board of Education for the Virgin Islands shall be established by law and shall operate under the following terms:
(1) Members. The Board shall consist of fourteen (14) members elected by the citizens of the Virgin Islands.
(2) Terms. Members of the Board shall be elected for terms of four (4) years. The terms of office shall be staggered. St. Croix and St. Thomas/St. John Districts. The two electoral districts of St. Croix and St. Thomas/St. John shall each elect seven (7) members to the Board, provided that one board member elected from the district of St. Thomas/St. John shall be domiciled in St. John regardless of the definition of districts.
(3) Chairman and Vice Chairman. The members of V.I. Board shall elect a Chairman and a Vice-Chairman from among its number at the first meeting after each election.
(4) Vacancy. When a vacancy occurs on the V.I. Board, the Chairman of the Board shall name a replacement from the next person in line with the highest number of votes, within thirty (30) days of the vacancy. The person named shall serve for the remainder of the term.
(b) The V.I. Board of Education shall have the following powers and duties:
(1) Function as the State Board of Education with all the responsibilities and duties required by the United States Department of Education;
(2) Be responsible for the policy, management and operation of the education system;
(3) Hire a Superintendent for each district who shall administer the policies of the Board;
(4) Hire a Director of Human Resources, a Director of Curriculum and Instruction, and a Director of Capital Projects;
(5) Ensure that classroom size shall, to the greatest extent possible, be no greater than the median size ratios of public school systems of high quality by the year 2012;
(6) Ensure that African and Caribbean history, the culture and history of the Virgin Islands and its original people are included in the curriculum of study.
(7) Set the school calendar for all public schools in the territory;
(8) Act as the Virgin Islands Board of Technical and Career Education;
(9) Certify all educational professionals and schools, public and non-public, in the territory to ensure a high-quality education is provided;
(10) Have oversight of the Territorial Scholarship Program;
(11) Shall present an annual report to the V.I. Legislature on the state of the Education System of the Virgin Islands by August 1st of each year.
(12) Any other such powers or duties established by law.
Section 4. District Boards of Education
(a) Boards of Education for each of the districts of the Virgin Islands shall be established by law and shall operate under the following terms:
(1) Districts. There shall be two District Boards: one for the island of St. Croix, and one for the islands of St. Thomas/St. Johns.
(2) Members. Each of the District Boards shall have seven (7) members elected by the citizens of each of the electoral districts of the Virgin Islands.
(3) St. Thomas/St. Johns District. The St. Thomas/St. Johns District must have at least one member who is a resident of St. Johns.
(4) Chairman and Vice Chairman. The members of each District Board shall elect a Chairman and a Vice-Chairman from among the members of that District at the first meeting after each election.
(5) Vacancy. When a vacancy occurs on the District Board, the Chairman of the District Board shall name a replacement from the next person in line with the highest number of votes in the district, within thirty (30) days of the vacancy. The person named shall serve for the remainder of the term.
(b) The District Boards of Education shall have the following powers and duties:
(1) Each District shall hire a Director of Budget and Management, a Director of Maintenance, and a Director of Nutrition and Food Service.
(2) Any other such powers or duties established by law.
Section 5. Commission on Civics
(a) A Commission on Civics for the Virgin Islands shall be established by law.
(b) The Commission shall have the following powers and duties:
(1) Develop and coordinate programs in collaboration with schools to educate students in the importance of governance and democracy and citizen involvement in the representative democracy;
(2) Any other such powers or duties esta
blished by law.
(c) The Commission shall remain effective for a period of five (5) years after establishment.
(d) The members of the commission shall elect a chairman, vice chairman, and such other officers as it shall determine;
(e) A member of the commission shall serve without compensation for his services, but may receive a per diem and be reimbursed for reasonable and necessary travel and other expenses actually incurred on business of the commission;
(f) The commission shall hold meetings at least every quarter upon the call of the chairman or the majority of the members. The initial meeting of the commission shall be called by the president of the V.I. Legislature;
(g) Staff and facilities needed by the commission to accomplish its purposes shall be provided by the V.I. Legislature from its existing resources.

Editor's note: Share your thoughts on this section of the draft of the proposed constitution with other Source readers. Please include on the subject line the section you are writing about, and at the end of your letter include your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.




Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.

STAY CONNECTED

20,771FansLike
4,757FollowersFollow

FROM FACEBOOK

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons
Load more
A Draft of Articles VIII and IX of the Fifth Constitution of the Virgin Islands.
*These drafts are subject to further review by legal counsel.
ARTICLE VIII LOCAL GOVERNMENT

POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS; CREATION, POWERS

Section 1. The Senate shall create a political subdivision embodying St. John, St. Croix and St. Thomas, and provide for the framework for the government thereof. The Senate may not create a political subdivision within any of the islands, except with the approval of the majority of the voters voting on the question on the island which is to be subdivided. Each political subdivision shall have and exercise such powers as shall be conferred by law.
LOCAL SELF-GOVERNMENT

Section 2. Each political subdivision shall have the power to adopt its own framework for self-government within such limits and under such procedures as may be provided by law. The framework for self-government shall be created by a commission composed of members elected from said subdivision established by law. The Senate shall provide for the election of commissions within one year of ratification of this Constitution.
TAXATION AND FINANCE

Section 3. The power to tax shall be reserved to the Senate, but a political subdivision may petition the Senate to impose a tax to be utilized solely by said political subdivision.
MANDATES, ACCRUED CLAIMS

Section 4. No law shall be passed mandating any political subdivision to pay any previously accrued claim.
GENERAL LAWS

Section 5. This Article shall not limit the power of the Senate to enact laws of general concern, and no political subdivision may infringe upon this power.
ARTICLE IX EDUCATION

EDUCATIONAL PHILOSOPHY

It is the goal of the Virgin Islands to provide its citizens with a free, high-quality, public education system that does not discriminate against any citizen, preserves the African history, culture and traditions of the people of the Virgin Islands, and prepares its citizens to compete globally.
Section 1. Public Education System
(a) The government shall provide for a free, high-quality, public education system that includes early childhood, elementary, middle, secondary, career and technical higher education.
(b) The early childhood, elementary, middle education and secondary education shall be compulsory and shall begin at the earliest age when a child has the mental and physical capacity for classroom learning.
(c) The system shall maintain state of the art technology and up-to-date textbooks in the classrooms.
(d) The system shall maintain the smallest class size possible to ensure that each student receives a high-quality education, but in any case, the class size shall not have more than 15 in grades K-7, and no more than 20 in grades 8-12.
Section 2. Funding
(a) The V.I. Legislature shall provide the funding necessary to obtain and maintain a free, high-quality, public education system.
(b) The V.I. Legislature shall establish and maintain the Virgin Islands Fund for Education.
(c) The fund shall be supported by appropriations and allotments from the General Fund, which shall include at least 50 percent of all earnings derived from legal and illegal games of chance in the territory.
(d) The Virgin Islands Fund for Education shall, to the greatest extent possible, be guaranteed an annual budget of not less than thirty percent (30%) of the general revenues of the territory, designated only for the support of the objectives stated in these provisions, that shall not be reprogrammed.
Section 3. Virgin Islands Board of Education
(a) A Board of Education for the Virgin Islands shall be established by law and shall operate under the following terms:
(1) Members. The Board shall consist of fourteen (14) members elected by the citizens of the Virgin Islands.
(2) Terms. Members of the Board shall be elected for terms of four (4) years. The terms of office shall be staggered. St. Croix and St. Thomas/St. John Districts. The two electoral districts of St. Croix and St. Thomas/St. John shall each elect seven (7) members to the Board, provided that one board member elected from the district of St. Thomas/St. John shall be domiciled in St. John regardless of the definition of districts.
(3) Chairman and Vice Chairman. The members of V.I. Board shall elect a Chairman and a Vice-Chairman from among its number at the first meeting after each election.
(4) Vacancy. When a vacancy occurs on the V.I. Board, the Chairman of the Board shall name a replacement from the next person in line with the highest number of votes, within thirty (30) days of the vacancy. The person named shall serve for the remainder of the term.
(b) The V.I. Board of Education shall have the following powers and duties:
(1) Function as the State Board of Education with all the responsibilities and duties required by the United States Department of Education;
(2) Be responsible for the policy, management and operation of the education system;
(3) Hire a Superintendent for each district who shall administer the policies of the Board;
(4) Hire a Director of Human Resources, a Director of Curriculum and Instruction, and a Director of Capital Projects;
(5) Ensure that classroom size shall, to the greatest extent possible, be no greater than the median size ratios of public school systems of high quality by the year 2012;
(6) Ensure that African and Caribbean history, the culture and history of the Virgin Islands and its original people are included in the curriculum of study.
(7) Set the school calendar for all public schools in the territory;
(8) Act as the Virgin Islands Board of Technical and Career Education;
(9) Certify all educational professionals and schools, public and non-public, in the territory to ensure a high-quality education is provided;
(10) Have oversight of the Territorial Scholarship Program;
(11) Shall present an annual report to the V.I. Legislature on the state of the Education System of the Virgin Islands by August 1st of each year.
(12) Any other such powers or duties established by law.
Section 4. District Boards of Education
(a) Boards of Education for each of the districts of the Virgin Islands shall be established by law and shall operate under the following terms:
(1) Districts. There shall be two District Boards: one for the island of St. Croix, and one for the islands of St. Thomas/St. Johns.
(2) Members. Each of the District Boards shall have seven (7) members elected by the citizens of each of the electoral districts of the Virgin Islands.
(3) St. Thomas/St. Johns District. The St. Thomas/St. Johns District must have at least one member who is a resident of St. Johns.
(4) Chairman and Vice Chairman. The members of each District Board shall elect a Chairman and a Vice-Chairman from among the members of that District at the first meeting after each election.
(5) Vacancy. When a vacancy occurs on the District Board, the Chairman of the District Board shall name a replacement from the next person in line with the highest number of votes in the district, within thirty (30) days of the vacancy. The person named shall serve for the remainder of the term.
(b) The District Boards of Education shall have the following powers and duties:
(1) Each District shall hire a Director of Budget and Management, a Director of Maintenance, and a Director of Nutrition and Food Service.
(2) Any other such powers or duties established by law.
Section 5. Commission on Civics
(a) A Commission on Civics for the Virgin Islands shall be established by law.
(b) The Commission shall have the following powers and duties:
(1) Develop and coordinate programs in collaboration with schools to educate students in the importance of governance and democracy and citizen involvement in the representative democracy;
(2) Any other such powers or duties esta blished by law.
(c) The Commission shall remain effective for a period of five (5) years after establishment.
(d) The members of the commission shall elect a chairman, vice chairman, and such other officers as it shall determine;
(e) A member of the commission shall serve without compensation for his services, but may receive a per diem and be reimbursed for reasonable and necessary travel and other expenses actually incurred on business of the commission;
(f) The commission shall hold meetings at least every quarter upon the call of the chairman or the majority of the members. The initial meeting of the commission shall be called by the president of the V.I. Legislature;
(g) Staff and facilities needed by the commission to accomplish its purposes shall be provided by the V.I. Legislature from its existing resources.

Editor's note: Share your thoughts on this section of the draft of the proposed constitution with other Source readers. Please include on the subject line the section you are writing about, and at the end of your letter include your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.