The San Juan Daily Star
Morovis mayor sees lack of readiness for school year
By John McPhaul
Morovis Mayor Carmen Maldonado González said Thursday that what she sees as a crisis in the island Department of Education (DE) goes far beyond the intervention of the U.S. Department of Education.
“The crisis comes from above, when Governor Pierluisi himself minimizes the situation, limiting himself to pointing out that he understands that the official whose office was broken into will be suspended from employment,” Maldonado González said. “Anyone would say that they are so used to corruption that they do not think the issue matters. It is the same attitude that they had in the [federal corruption] cases of [past Education secretaries] Víctor Fajardo and Julia Keleher. They are the same.”
The Popular Democratic Party vice president added that “in this country, classes start next week and there is no organization or any consistent plan.”
“Just look at the issue of schools affected by the earthquakes of January 2020,” she said.
Maldonado González specifically referred to statements issued back on June 6 by Enrique Questell Pereira, the DE’s director of the Office of infrastructure and Reconstruction. The official acknowledged in the press that some 14 schools in the so-called “ground zero” of the earthquake zone remain to be repaired.
“This is the southern zone of Puerto Rico where it was most important to start the repairs,” she said. “Similarly, 16 schools still remain as temporary schools. Based on the DE’s admission, it won’t be until December that they complete the jobs.”
Meanwhile, Maldonado González said, with classes about to start more than 800 schools are without a director.
“Today, the bureaucratic problems in the Department of Education will cause chaos when you start the semester and there is no one to direct the campuses,” she said.
The 2022-2023 academic year is scheduled to start today, when teachers must report to work. Next Tuesday there will be an open house, and students return to school on Wednesday.