Claim: Cotton Tree Public School received its first budgetary allocation in FY 2023, amounting to USD 55,000.
Verdict: True, But!
Full Text: Representative Ivar Jones, District #2, seeks re-election in Margibi County in the October 10, 2023 polls.
The Margibi lawmaker was elected in 2017. Jones stressed the issues of education, economic employment, agriculture, security, and reconciliation, among other things, during his 5th annual legislative report.
On April 17, 2023, during the dedication of a modern library center built by the association of Firestone residents in the United States, Jones said the national budget has captured the Cotton Tree public school to be built.
He made the statement [1; 47–48] both at the dedication and in the district report on Cotton Tree Public School’s renovated structure.
Jones named the building’s painting, cement for the floor, plastering, etc.
The Cotton Tree public school was built in 2015 under the administration of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
The school, which was established, has been in deplorable condition for several months as school-going children and instructors have been managing their problems.
The Stage Media was contacted to check this claim by a journalist identified as Abraham Howison
Journalist Howison said in his communication, “Good morning, stage media. I’m a local journalist from Radio Peace FM 96.5 MHZ in Harbel Firestone, lower Margibi County. There are claims and counterclaims over the Cotton Tree public school situated in Margibi District #2 that the institution in the 2023 budget received 55 thousand United States dollars for the construction of additional annexes.”
He further revealed that the District #2 lawmaker informed his people that the money was placed in the budget for renovation and maintenance instead of the construction of the annexes.
According to Rep. Jones, it is the first time for the school to be captured in the national budget since its establishment in 2015, and he hopes that the school will remain on the budget.
Verification: We researched the fiscal year (FY) 2023 budget to verify Jones’ claim.
The FY2023 budget did not show a budgetary allotment for the Cotton Tree Public School.
However, the FY 2022 budget allotted US$50,000 to the school instead of US$55,000 as claimed by Jones.
Our research further established that the lawmaker was right to say that it was the first time for the school to receive a budgetary allotment.
Conclusion: According to our research, the Margibi District #2 lawmaker was correct in stating that the Cotton Tree Public School received budget allotment for the first time; however, he was incorrect in stating that it was US$55,000 in FY 2023 when it was US$50,00 in FY 2022.
This story was produced with the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development’s (CJID) support.