School in danger of losing posts

Acting deputy principal Carlene Leukes, back left, and teacher Eureka Shand with Grade Rs Akilah Mlambo, Tyler Kwaramba, Zukhanye Gcaza, Qhayiya Phicane, Elihle Jaxa and Tinaishe Mbira in the school library.

Holy Cross Primary School is in danger of losing eight of its teachers. The teachers are hired by the school’s governing body and their salaries depend on the school’s fund-raising efforts and parents paying schools fees, but both these sources of income have all but dried up because of the impact of Covid-19.

Acting deputy principal Carlene Leukes says the school needs R74000 a month to pay the eight teachers.

The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) pays the salaries of the school’s other 13 teachers and last week it deployed two teacher assistants to the school, but three of the teachers are at home because they have underlying health conditions that put them at greater risk of dying from Covid-19, so the school will be stretched very thin if it loses its eight governing-body teachers.

The school is using the latest closure – its Grade 7s will return on Monday August 10 and other grades on Monday August 24 – to come up with ways to raise money.

Feroza Ryklief has been a governing-body teacher at the school for nine years and is working on a few fund-raising ideas.

“We are looking at selling unwanted assets like fridges, urns, overhead projectors and chairs,” she said.

Other ideas include getting parents who live near the school to volunteer more; starting a mobile tuckshop and selling R50 tuckshop vouchers; and offering advertising space to a sponsor.

Ms Ryklief is desperate to hold onto her job. Her husband, Ryan, is in trucking and has not been working because of the trucking strike, her son, Dylan, has been retrenched, and her daughter, Tracey, is still studying.

The school’s bursar, Shannon Booysen, who is also a governing-body staff member and joined the Holy Cross at the start of last year, said things were touch and go at the moment.

“We don’t know what is going to happen; the school is struggling, and this is a difficult situation,” she said.

Principal Nomthandazo Zweni said some hard decisions would have to be made if the school were to get through the crisis.

“We will have to find a way to manage. We can give them either a reduction of salary or they would have to stay at home until we can call them back if we have the money to pay them.”

WCED spokeswoman Bronagh Hammond said parents were encouraged to pay school fees, where possible, throughout the lockdown. “Many of our schools rely on the collection of school fees to pay SGB staff, and therefore it is imperative for them to continue to collect funds.”

Schools could also apply for classroom assistants to be appointed in cases where teachers with comorbidities had been given permission to work from home, she said.

People wishing to apply to be teacher assistants can visit wcedonline.westerncape.gov.za and click on “vacancies” to find out more.

Holy Cross Primary School celebrated its 110th anniversary earlier this year, and the school is appealing to alumni and the community to help its fund-raising efforts.

Contact Ms Zweni at 079 895 3079 or nzweni9@gmail.com if you can help.