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Jun 1, 1999

Controversy over raffle tickets at Gwen Liz

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This morning a concerned parent called News Five to say that despite a recent letter from Gwen Lizarraga High School that students will not be allowed to leave the school grounds without their parents, for any reason, including illness, students were sent out today to sell raffle tickets. However, there are always two sides to every story and the management of the school says today’s action was a last ditch effort before the end of the year to collect money that had been outstanding for over two months. Teachers tell us the financial situation is so dire at the school that fundraising efforts are critical to Gwen Liz’s ability to function and that the parents had agreed to help the children sell the tickets. Each child was responsible for three raffle books valued at ten dollars each.

Enita Castillo, Teacher, Gwen Lizarraga High School

“Students had been given raffle tickets to sell for two months now. We sent notes to parents, written notes. As a matter of fact before all of that we discussed it at a PTA meeting. We asked for ideas for fundraising and one of the biggest thoughts that came out was the idea of selling raffles and we jumped on that. We kept them informed; we got the raffle tickets out and we told them that each child would get three raffle tickets.

And considering the recent situation with children being hurt and stuff we sent the notes saying that the raffle tickets are for you parents to take care of. We gave them time to sell. We had weekends when teachers went out with students to help sell the raffle tickets and now at the end of the day when we are expecting all the monies in, parents are not sending in the money.

So last week we told students that if they had not brought in the money by yesterday, yesterday we told them if they did not bring the money by today, don’t come back to school. So some of the students came back and brought their money but some came without the money so we sent them back because they know they are not supposed to come anyway. And as a result of that parents came in. They were very hostile.

Now exam time is right around the corner. What will happen then? That is why we are kind of pressuring them so that they bring the fees in before the exam because we don’t want to wait for exam time because this is the end of the year. Generally what we are saying to them is that if you don’t pay the monies by exam, you won’t be able to take the exam.

We don’t know what else to do. The school has to run and we are a government school but we are only given a very small amount of money to run the school which basically covers salaries. Everything else we have to try to raise funds to meet expenses for security and other little things.”

Paul Flowers, Teacher, Gwen Lizarraga High School

“You hear statements like I have past by Gwen Lizarraga High School and it look like tiger will back the children away because the bush is so high. The teachers either have to cut the grass or pay someone to cut the grass. But it is these recurrent monies that we do not get subvention for; we have to raise funds — what people consider simple things that begin to become a problem.”

But the parents appear to have won the round on this one since the Ministry of Education has contacted the school and has told the school’s management that all of the students, even those who failed to turn in the raffle money, will have to be allowed to take their exams.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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