MP Marlin-Romeo defends adopt-a-school program

POSTED: 08/7/15 12:34 PM

St. Maarten – Independent Member of Parliament Leona Marlin-Romeo firmly supports the adopt-a-school program that is part of the governing program and dismisses criticism of the idea.

“Irrespective of the feedback it is imperative for all to start thinking outside the box and embrace creative solutions to assist in remedying the challenges that we face,” she said in a press statement last night.

“By no means does this program imply that government is relinquishing its responsibility to the education system. It creates the opportunity for businesses to be socially responsible and allow them to make a contribution.”

Big businesses come to Sint Maarten and receive tax breaks for a certain number of years as an incentive, Marlin-Romeo pointed out. “What should be added is the ability to adopt a school in order to get the tax break, along with other fiscal measures that will secure our competitive edge.  There is nothing abstract in this request. Many of our public schools function on a skeletal level because of the lack of material or they run out of basic necessities before the school year ends regardless of what is budgeted from the little that the government has.”

Receiving additional contributions from big businesses can only be supplementary and benefit those schools that are in dire need, Marlin-Romeo added.

“This concept is nothing new. It is actually being practiced by companies such as PJIA. Businesses can also grant scholarships or pay for specialized training or internships to students of the schools they adopt. The physical upkeep of the schools is just one way to adopt a school, and there are many other creative possibilities.”

Community-minded businesses will sit with the school management and PTA boards and discuss the needs of each school, the MP expects.

Marlin-Romeo says that the adopt-a-school program is one her initiatives and that the coalition has accepted it.

“It’s easier to sit back and critique but coming up with innovative ideas to remedy ailing situations is what is needed.  Improving the overall school environment leads to improved student results. This in turn leads to optimistic students that will contribute positively to the society. It takes innovative leaders and thinkers to move this island forward,” Marlin-Romeo stated.

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