WIPM Faction asks for clarity into financial challenges at SCS and SHS

The members of the WIPM Faction of the Island Council today sent in questions to the Executive Council requesting clarity into the financial challenges at the Saba Comprehensive School and Sacred Heart School. Council Members Rolando Wilson, Elsa Peterson, and Vito Charles say that they were ‘shocked’ to read in a recent press release on November 30th, 2023 about the critical financial situation at the school, having met with the Executive Director of SKOSaba/SEF and the school boards on August 31st, 2023, where no signals of the financial challenges recently encountered were given.

Because education is such a critical element in the development of our community, the Council members of the WIPM Party say that the questions are posed with the intent of gaining insight into the financial oversight at the schools and the conditions that led to these financial challenges. “Accountability is important in every institution, and we believe that it is necessary to understand the circumstances that may have played a role in creating this undesirable situation and what all stakeholders can do to minimize such a reoccurrence in the future,” they stated.

In line with Article 35 of the Rules of Order of the Island Council of Saba, The Executive Council has a maximum of 30 days to answer the questions. The faction members concluded by saying, “The questions are an initial step and we have not excluded the use of other tools at the disposal of the Council to bring about transparency in this issue.”

The complete text of the questions sent to The Executive Council is provided below:

Education is a critical aspect in the development of the youth as well as for the future of our community. In a recent meeting on August 31st, 2023, the Executive Director of SKOSaba/SEF along with members of both school boards in an information session gave an overview of the developments at the schools, which framed upcoming changes at the school primarily in a positive way. Therefore, it was with great shock that we received the news that the schools were experiencing financial challenges as was stated in the press release on November 30th, 2023. This press release painted a stark picture of the dire financial straits at the school. It was particularly disconcerting to hear that several staff were terminated, some within weeks of taking up positions at the school. The uncertainty in their positions has also been expressed by other staff members and understandably so.

While we understand that the Public Entity has minimal involvement in the operations of the schools, we believe that the financial (in)stability of the schools has significant implications for the quality of education that is provided to our students on the island. In light of the fact that there is only one school for both primary and secondary education, it is important to ensure that the administration of the school remains accountable to the community that they serve. We believe that given the critical role of education, this is an undesirable situation, particularly for parents, students, and especially for staff members who now find themselves without a means to provide for themselves.

Given the above, the undersigned, on behalf of the Windward Island People’s Movement faction, based on Article 35 of the Rules of Procedure of the Island Council, asks the following written questions:

The council is requested to answer the following question(s) in writing:


  1. Which body/institution is responsible for the financial oversight at the schools? If there is an oversight body does this body provide any reporting to the Executive Council? If no, why not?

  2. Does the council have any insight into the complete budget of the schools? If not, does the council intend to request the budget? If not, why not?
  1. Does the Council engage with the Executive Director of SKOSaba/SEF along with both school boards to discuss financial matters? and what mechanisms are in place to address financial issues promptly. If not, why not? If yes, please explain.

  2. What support is the Council providing to the schools to mitigate the impact of the current financial challenges? Will the Council intervene to limit the possibility that a similar situation will occur in the future? Please explain.
  1. Recently the Inspectorate of Education was present at the schools, were they made aware of the financial situation at the schools during their most recent visit. If so, have they prepared a report or any guidance addressing the situation? If yes, would it be possible to receive this?

  2. Does the Council have any insight into the annual financial report of the schools? If not, does the Council intend to request the annual report? If not, why not?
  1. Are the financial statements of the educational institutions audited? If not does the Council intend to request an audit of these financial statements?

  2. The schools recently moved to a two-tier governance structure. Does the Council support this governance structure? Please explain.

  3. Is the Council aware of the number of staff laid off? Also, is the Council aware of whether more layoffs are possible? Is the Council supporting staff that have been laid off? If so, how?

  4. Considering these terminations, how does the Council plan to ensure the continuity and quality of education for the students on the island? Please explain.

  5. Does the Council have a position on what is necessary to improve financial oversight at the schools? If so, can the Council provide insight into this?

WIPM Faction

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