A reader writes on the closure of Whitney, perhaps the beginning of the end for the successful aided schools:
Today's announcement of the closure of the Whitney Institute is interesting. The failure to maintain the physical plant to acceptable health and safety standards seems to be at the core of the dispute and subsequent closure. What is interesting however is the shift in language between April and now. In announcements made just a couple of months ago the public was led to believe that as a Government-aided school, the Government was responsible for the upkeep to ensure a clean and safe environment and one that complies with health and safety codes. Fast forward to today and the not-so-subtle announcement by Minister Horton that Whitney's Trustees could not give an assurance that they could remain a viable school within the public school system for five years - hence, the closure. What was not addressed in today's press reports was where the responsibility lay for funding of property management and maintenance. The inference now was that it was the Trustees responsibility, albeit the specifics of the level of Government funding and how it is applied within the multi-million dollar school budget was not elaborated on.
There is no doubt that this closure now becomes a convenient announcement for Government. It is not inconsistent with Government's strategy of dismantling relics of the pre-1998 regime (the Minister's announcement would have been markedly different had Victor Scott School found itself in the same scenario). But, I cannot
help but enquire as to whether the school's Trustees were negligent in not ensuring that required property maintenance was done. I don't think we've seen the last of 'he said, he said' over this one.