Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Holy Cross Primary School teachers walked out of classes

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On Monday, October 31st, over a dozen Holy Cross Anglican Primary School teachers in the San Mateo Subdivision walked out of their classes because the school’s management owes them salaries and hardship allowances.
The teachers protested, claiming that around seven teachers have not been paid since September. Teacher Helen Melendez and a representative on the island for the Belize National Teachers Union said this is one of the main issues they are facing at the school. “We also have the entire staff members, who have not received any hardship allowance at all,” said Melendez. She explained that they receive a $200 hardship allowance. “But for some reason, on a year-to-year basis, it is always difficult for us to get that on time,” she continued.
Melendez noted that it took six months to receive their hardship allowances last year. “We live in San Pedro, which is pretty expensive, and most people are aware of that. Teachers find it hard to survive only on their salaries. They want their hardship. They cannot wait another six months; most of them have rent to pay,” said Melendez. She touched on the increase in housing and entertainment allowances for government Chief Executive Officers. Their subsidies (above their salary) have increased from $750 to $1,500 per month. “While we as teachers, who are hardworking, are required to have a child-friendly classroom spending out of our pockets, we are getting a measly $200,” Melendez noted. She stressed that hardship allowance for teachers should be reviewed and possibly increased.
The teachers said there are other issues they want to discuss and are trying to meet with the school’s management. There is no confirmation when this meeting could occur to iron out these issues with the teachers. It is noted that there are no classes countrywide in preparation for the arrival of Tropical Storm Lisa.
The Holy Cross Education Foundation was created to provide administrative and financial support to schools in disadvantaged areas, such as Holy Cross Anglican School in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize. The Foundation primarily exists to cover expenses not provided by the Ministry of Education. Those may include the construction and maintenance of the school building plus all utility costs, non-teaching staff salaries, classroom furnishings and supplies, the library, computer lab, office equipment and personnel, and a feeding program.
Attempts to contact the school management were fruitless.

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