21 Aug 2013

Hope schools in American Samoa will be ready by next week

8:13 am on 21 August 2013

The Department of Education in American Samoa says it is essentially trying to complete years worth of repair work, in the space of a few weeks, to get schools ready to open.

Last week the government put the start of the new school year back a week after health inspectors found unsanitary and unsafe conditions in 10 of the 30 public schools.

And on Sunday education officials announced the public schools on the main island of Tutuila will be shut for a further week, due to heavy rain hampering repair work.

The special assistant to the director of education, Dr Amy Blizzard, says the department has had a very small budget for repair maintenance, but they now have the support of the new administration to fix the schools.

"There have been quite a few years of deferred maintenance, where we just haven't done the ongoing maintenance that needs to happen. It's partly a funding problem. It was resources, it was man power. All of these things has kind of combined over the years. In many cases we're trying to make repairs that have been an ongoing issue for us, very quickly."

Dr Amy Blizzard says weather permitting, the department is confident schools will be ready to open on the 26th of August.