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Thursday 19 September 2019
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School cleaners still waiting for $

Anthony Garcia
Anthony Garcia

TWO weeks before school reopens, the Association of Denominational School Boards is still scrambling to get funds to pay cleaners.

The association said it was holding out hope that it would receive the outstanding money in time to pay salaries by the end of the month.

Association head Sharon Mungroo said she was informed by the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education that there had been releases, but the delay now is in getting approval to cut the cheques.

“These cheques were due on June 1,” Mungroo who represents the Roman Catholic School Board told the Newsday on Tuesday.

Another member said the Comptroller of Accounts has not given permission for the cheques to be printed.

“They are just playing games with us. They are not serious.”

The denominational boards signed a memorandum of understanding with the ministry in 2008 for the state to provide financial assistance to their schools in exchange for school places.

A quarterly grant for cleaners falls under this arrangement but a member of the association said government had been neglecting its obligation.

To date, the association has not received the grant to cover cleaners’ salaries for June, July, August and September.

The Catholic church owns 118 of the 343 denominational schools under this programme.

The Presbyterian church has 72 and the Vedic board, 7.

The other 146 schools are owned by the Maha Sabha, Anglican, Methodist, KPA, TIA, TML and Asja.

A member of the Presbyterian board said it was trying to access another loan to pay their 200 cleaners at the end of the month.

“Two weeks before school reopens and absolutely nothing. No approval has been given to print any cheques. This is unacceptable.”

Mungroo said the reason for delay in payment, “is always because they (MOE) have not received releases from the Ministry of Finance.

“We don’t wait for the releases, we pay our cleaners because the cheques which we are supposed to receive on the first day of each quarter have been coming later and later and later.

“Over the last few months we have been borrowing to pay cleaners at our schools.

“The thing with borrowing is, an interest incurs which is not covered by the grant, so you do remain out of pocket.”

She said the association had appealed to the ministry to advise them if they were going to be late in releasing the funds and how late so they could negotiate with the banks.

“We are not happy, but we will keep talking with the Minister of Education Anthony Garica but it’s really an issue to be resolved between him and Finance Minister Colm Imbert.”

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