15 Baguio schools face closure, city council seeks gov’t aid

BAGUIO CITY – As some 15 private schools here face closure, the city council has asked the government to help provide financial assistance to small learning institutions affected by the indefinite suspension of classes due to the pandemic.
In a city council resolution approved on May 4, the councilors have asked the Department of Education (DepEd), the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and the Technical Education and Skill Development Authority (TESDA) to provide financial assistance to private educational schools/institutions in the city that have been adversely affected by the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
Baguio City Association of Private School Administrators (BC-APSA) vice president for senior high school Marlon Angaga said some 15 schools face closure as the indefinite suspension of classes has brought financial burden brought about by the unfinished school year and non-collection of tuition.
These schools with enrollment of fewer than 500 students have 25 percent of their classes unfinished and practically the same amount of uncollected fees.
They now fear that these schools will not be able to pay the salaries of teachers. Teachers are paid only until the end of classes which is at the end of this month.
As a preventive measure against the infectious disease, classes in all private and public schools in the city were suspended indefinitely starting March 9.
The city council resolution said that while a number of students in various schools have not fully paid their tuition and other school fees, there are those who have settled their finances before the implementation of the ECQ.
The resolution said parents have requested for a refund saying the school year 2019-2020 was not completed. It added that some private schools have acquired huge amounts of loans in the past years in preparation for the implementation of the K-12 curriculum.
Schools have used existing funds to pay teaching and non-teaching personnel and secured their salaries during the period covered by the suspension of classes, the resolution read.
The BC-APSA said refunds cannot be given to students even as the city council requested them earlier through a resolution.
“We are hoping for the understanding of parents as the school also understands their situation but we really have to balance things. Otherwise, the school of their children will cease operation and will cause displacement of their children as well as the loss of job for the school personnel,” said the group in a letter to the city council in response to the resolution. **By Pigeon Lobien

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