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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

House majority leader urges Senate to halt confirmation of Education secretary

Rep. Ángel Matos García

By The Star Staff

The majority leader in the island House of Representatives, Rep. Ángel Matos García, called on the Senate on Sunday not to carry out a confirmation vote on the nominee for secretary of education, Yanira Raíces Vega, “given the insufficient and improvised plan of emergency measures in the face of the heat wave that has hit the country and is affecting public schools.”

“It is a shame that, with a purchase order of $33 million for replacement and installation of air conditioners, the Department can only think of installing water fountains, giving Friday off and buying fans,” Matos García said in a written statement.

In the past few weeks, dozens of demonstrations have been held in every school on the island, the lawmaker said, “in the face of the chaos of the start of classes that included the delay of air conditioner replacements by the Public Buildings Authority, which awaits air conditioners purchased by the Department of Education at a cost of $33 million and which have not arrived.”

“At the Gilberto Concepción de Gracia school in my district, 30 air conditioners have to be replaced and the secretariat is still waiting to coordinate the effort,” Matos García said. “But instead of speeding up the process of installing or replacing air conditioners, they can only think of days off and fresh clothes. Students want classrooms not saunas, and [the school] has been waiting for six years for the roof of the court damaged by Hurricane Maria.”

“I invite you to turn off the air [conditioning] in the secretary’s office so that you may suffer firsthand the abuse of your negligence,” the majority leader added. “I ask the Senate not to confirm [the appointment. Who can not do the least, can not do more.”

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