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Tafuna High PTA not giving up on lower campus and calls meeting

Tafuna High School sign
Parents, teachers, students and Warrior alumni called to stand together

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — “The Parents and Teacher Association will continue to fight for the return of lower campus property to Tafuna High School,” declared PTA president William E. Spitzenberg, as the government moves forward with plans to construct on the site the centralized local Education Department Building.

“We call upon all Tafuna High School parents, teachers, students and the Warrior alumni association to stand together in this fight to return the lower campus to Tafuna High School,” Spitzenberg told Samoa News on Tuesday evening.

The PTA is holding a meeting today at 5p.m. “to discuss our next steps in making this happen,” said Spitzenberg, who called on parents, students, and members of the alumni association to join today’s meeting at the school campus.

ASDOE has already relocated the JROTC program to the school’s upper campus — which teachers and parents say is already crowded — and ASG early this week issued  a notice of “Invitation for Bids” from qualified firms to provide “Construction of the Department of Education Centralized Administration Office Building” in Tafuna. Closing date for bid submission is no later than 2p.m. — local time — Oct. 22nd. (See yesterday’s Samoa News edition for details.)

“The school needs this property, the lower campus, as the upper campus is already overcrowded and there is no room for additional classes let alone the entire JROTC program,” Spitzenberg points out.

He also said that the government “took no thought and did no planning for the relocation of the lower campus classes to upper campus.”

“Now with school going back to full 5 days a week, you will have over 1200 students cramped into this small upper campus area,” he said, referring to the Education director’s announcement last week that full-schedule for public schools starts on Oct. 13th.

“The teacher to student ratio at Tafuna High School is already more than double the recommended number and there are not enough classrooms to fit all the classes and new students,” he explained and noted that ASDOE had 6 months to fix the school buildings and have this all planned out before school started.

However, he said nothing was done, as the teachers had to use their own money to buy paint to paint their rooms, buy tables and chairs for the students. (This information echoes what Samoa News had from both teachers and lawmakers.)

“The PTA stepped in to help fix broken lights, fans, doors and many other issues the last week before school started because ASDOE did not do their job,” he said. “Now, they are taking away the lower campus from the school without any thought of fixing the over crowdedness problem we face here at Tafuna High School.”

Spitzenberg reiterated what he earlier told Samoa News that there is plenty of room at Lions Park for a new ASDOE building with ample space to do whatever ASDOE wishes. There is also enough room between the existing ASDOE Secondary building next to Tafuna High School they can use for their new building.

“Why take away much needed land from the biggest most overcrowded high school in the territory?” he asked.

More parents contacted Samoa News yesterday voicing their opposition to ASG’s move taking up the lower campus and echoed Spitzenberg’s statements. Some parents have taken their frustration to social media to voice their complaints and concerns.