Former United Democratic Party (UDP) Minister, Lisel Alamilla, has gone from burning rosewood to terminating teachers.
On Tuesday afternoon, she terminated the services of nine teachers at the Claver College Extension in Punta Gorda.
The problem with these terminations is they were not sanctioned by the board. Instead, they were ordered and carried out by only Alamilla, who is the chairperson and the treasurer whose name has not yet been made public.
Additionally, with this 80 percent of teachers terminated, only two remain on staff to educate a population of almost 100 students.
The source of the termination stems from the fact that Alamilla was unable to properly negotiate with the staff regarding the time of their payment.
Given the harsh economic times, it is already a challenge for teachers to budget their income received once per month but Alamilla hoped that they would be willing to accept their payments every two months.
The teachers refused and staged a sickout last week which may have contributed to Alamilla’s decision to terminate them.
Vanna Noralez, the Teacher Representative at the school, told the press that the proposal to pay teachers quarterly was rejected by the staff months ago. However, it recently resurfaced and was again rejected.
The staff reportedly sent back the proposal to the board and asked that it be revised. However, since then, requests for meetings with the board have fallen on deaf ears.
According to Noralez, despite this breakdown, teachers continued to attend classes as per normal.
Alamilla told the press that the school was simply not able to make payroll on a monthly basis because of the school’s financial position.
Her own revelation has raised many questions about her ability to properly conduct the business of the school as its chairperson.
She additionally, informed the press that the school had opted to adopt the payment method used by the University of Belize in which teachers are paid at the middle and end of the semester.
However, again she conceded that the school was an adult continuing education program and so there are no real guidelines in place to determine which rules should be applied.
Belize Times notes that the syllabus used by this school reflects the secondary school structure and at the secondary school level, teachers are paid once per month.
While Alamilla was quick to terminate the teachers for refusing to be paid quarterly, she has not yet stated if she too pays herself quarterly.