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Cruz Bay
Saturday, December 10, 2022


Dear Source,
It seems that the gubernatorial campaign has finally reminded Gov. Charles Turnbull that he is responsible for what goes on in our public schools. But what took him so long, until the day before schools open, to remove District Superintendent Rosalia Payne?
When the governor allowed Payne to take a cruise during the teachers' strike in 2000, perhaps he should have let her keep on sailing. Instead he resisted the efforts to remove her as superintendent, thereby undercutting the authority of then-Commissioner of Education Ruby Simmonds.
But now, despite the constant flow of complaints from teachers and principals over the years, the governor disrupts the opening of our public schools with a politically timed reassignment of the district superintendent. Once again, our children will likely pay the price for the governor's inconsistent and personally motivated actions. Maybe the fact that Payne is part of the governor's inner circle of family and friends had more to do with her tenure as district superintendent than actual job performance. If rumor is true, then it took the threat of loss of votes from principals and teachers to convince the governor that it finally was time to cut her loose.
But exactly how loose is she? I'm convinced the governor will put her into another 'comparable' position at the same salary.
If this is an example of how Governor Turnbull intends to get more 'personally' involved in the Department of Education, then we must rescue our school system before it is too late. I know that we can do better because our children's future depends on it.
John de Jongh
St. Thomas
Candidate for Governor
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