Parents, Teachers Urge School to Decide

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Tue, 06/03/2008 9:50 AM | City


Parents and teachers of the John Calvin International School are demanding its board tell them whether the school will be open for the next academic year after suffering financial problems.


“We understand the school management still needs time to solve the problem and decide its fate, but they have to remember the new school year starts in July and our children have to resume their education then,” said parent representative Sahat Panggabeyan on Monday.


He said he had made inquiries about other international schools for his daughter in grade two in case the school closed.


The school, which is located in Pulomas, East Jakarta, suffered a loss in its first operational year, discouraging directors to invest in the school, board spokesman Andre Legoh said.


Another parent, Fery A. Karo Karo Sitepu, said he had already paid US$2,550 for his two children in March and demanded the school board return the money this week because he would use it to register his children elsewhere.


“I hope the school will stay open, but if it doesn’t, I hope the board will take responsibility and at least finish the term,” he said.


Andre said the board of directors was still discussing how to solve their financial problems. “We are in the process of conducting a financial audit now and I am pushing the shareholders to make a decision on the school’s fate this month,” Andre said.


He believed some problems, including renting the school building, could be better handled.

He said the school would return development fees already paid by some parents after the financial audit finished.


The school’s indecision has not only forced parents to look for alternative schools while waiting, but has made teachers feel insecure about their jobs.


“I am in a critical financial situation now,” said Paul Latus, an expatriate English teacher.

He said his contract with the school would end this month and he had to look for another job in case the school closed.


He said the school had to pay expatriate teachers’ permit fees every month, otherwise they could lose their teaching visas and would have to leave the country.


Andre said he could not forbid them from quitting their jobs because he could not give any guarantees.


He said the teachers and other school staff members received half of their salary for May on Saturday and they would receive the rest this week. The expatriate teachers can keep using their facilities, including their apartments, depending on the contract period they signed. (ind)