GBS Parents Support Keeping Elementary School in Coral Bay

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Editor:

Guy H. Benjamin Elementary School parents have voted overwhelmingly, 35 to 1, to have the GBS Parent Teacher Oranization support keeping a community elementary school in Coral Bay after a new educational facility is built to replace the Julius E. Sprauve School in Cruz Bay and bring a public secondary school to St. John.

The 36 ballots returned from parents representing a total of 40 students included only one vote in favor of plans to close GBS and bus students from the Coral Bay area to one large elementary school in a K-12 educational complex in the Catherineberg-Adrian area.

Ballots sent home with the school’s 80-plus students were collected by Principal Dionne Wells and turned over at the October 30 PTO meeting at the school. Although I am not sure how many ballots may still be in student backpacks or bookbags, I am pleased that so many parents expressing an opinion said the community’s elementary school should not be closed and that the PTO should support keeping a community school in Coral Bay.

Two former presidents of the GBS PTO addressed the October 30 meeting representing One Campus, a small group of residents supporting the creation of a K-12 school facility on St. John. The One Campus members said their group had not taken a position on the future of the Coral Bay elementary school in their meetings with federal and territorial officials and that the V.I. Education Department would make any decision on the future of the Guy H. Benjamin School.

In the future, I hope that the decision-making process will include and duly consider the opinions of the members of the organizations which represent the parents, staff and children of the island’s TWO public schools.

The Guy H. Benjamin Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization will continue to work to guarantee the future of the Coral Bay community’s elementary school.

Tom Oat,
Third Grade Parent and President
Guy H. Benjamin School Parent Teacher Organization