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Tafuna PTA requesting sit-down with governor over lower campus issue

Tafuna High School sign
Petition launched to “Save Tafuna High School Lower Campus”

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The Parents and Teachers Association of Tafuna High School has launched an online petition calling on Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga not to use the school’s lower campus to house new Education Department (ASDOE) facilities but reserve the area for future school expansion.

Launched last week Friday, the “Save Tafuna High School Lower Campus” petition have garnered 1,168 supporters — as of yesterday morning — with the goal of getting 1,500 signatures.

The school’s PTA president William E. Sptizenberg early last week wrote to Education director Dr. Ruth Matagi-Tofiga, seeking her support for the PTA’s planned petition to be sent to the governor “to keep the lower campus as part of Tafuna High School where it is much needed.” The formal petition was to have been sent last week Friday to the governor. (See Samoa News edition Sept. 23rd for details).

Asked if their formal petition has been forwarded to the governor, Sptizenberg told Samoa News on Monday this week that they were told by the Education director “to hold off on sending the Petition to the Governor until we've met with him.”

“Unfortunately, we have been trying to schedule a meeting with the Governor via his secretary... but have yet to hear back,” he said. “We are hoping to meet with Governor Lolo this week if he'll give us the time to have a sit down discussion. If not, we'll go ahead and send in our formal petition via letter by the end of the week.”

The online petition says that the Tafuna high PTA has recently been informed that the lower campus has been taken over by ASDOE.

“The recent removal of the lower campus buildings which we thought were for new buildings for the school are actually for the building of a new [AS]DOE facility to relocate [the] main office in Utulei to Tafuna,” it says.

The petition points out that there “is plenty of land” on the east side of the lower campus that ASDOE currently occupies where they can build their new facility. If more land is needed, the PTA argues in the petition that, Lions Park has vacant land ASDOE can use.

It questioned, why move the department “from a more central location to both east and west side schools... to further west? Its current headquarters in Utulei is the best location for all schools on island.”

According to the petition, the lower campus had housed the school’s JROTC along with other classes and clubs for many years.

“Also, the poor planning on ASG's part by demolishing these lower campus buildings in the middle of the school year has now imposed undue burden on the teachers and Principal of THS to make space for the JROTC and other classes that were housed in the lower campus,” it says.

“The current school buildings cannot hold the more than 1,200 students enrolled this school year and the number continues to grow every year,” according to the petition, which requested the governor to return the lower campus to Tafuna High School where it rightfully belongs.”

 “We must invest in our children as they are the future of American Samoa,” the petition concluded (