Acknowledging that education is important to the growth and improvement of the Virgin Islands is a step in the right direction.
A bigger step is the statement that Quality Education is important.
Quality Education is built on the shoulders of quality teachers.
At a time when very few individuals are choosing to become educators, it is even more difficult to develop quality teachers.
In order to help create quality education in the Virgin Islands, we should legislate that teachers in the Virgin Islands are exempt from taxation.
We grant EDC and RT Park corporations tax exemption all the time. Yet we do not have the skilled labor force to meet their employment needs.
Granting tax-exempt status to VI teachers would:
1. Increase teacher income.
2. Provide additional incentives to become a teacher
3. Raise the stature of teachers in our community
4. Acknowledge the value of teachers in our community
5. Be a foundation item in vitalizing education in the Virgin Islands, which is the core problem in our islands.
What is more important to the Virgin Islands?
A community with an educated population that will attract companies or a community with tax-exempt companies with no one educated enough to be employed at the companies?
Editor’s note: Michael Bornn is head of school at VI Montessori School & Peter Gruber International Academy.