Water shortage stalls Facebook’s school for poor in US
New York, May 25 (IANS) Funded by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan, the construction of a school for low-income students has been stalled in California owing to a major water shortage, a media report has said.
Scheduled to open this fall, the private school in East Palo Alto in Silicon Valley is unable to get construction permits, the Guardian reported on Tuesday, citing city officials.
The authorities said the water crisis has delayed approvals for numerous projects, including the primary school, “due to the lack of water”.
“We cannot entitle projects until we can prove there is a water supply available for them,” East Palo Alto assistant city manager Sean Charpentier was quoted as saying.
The school project stems from Chan’s passion to alleviate the effects of poverty on children. A former elementary science teacher, Chan hopes to take a holistic approach to address health and other issues that hamper children’s well-being and learning from a young age, www.mercurynews.com had reported earlier.
Although it was unclear how the water crisis in East Palo Alto may impede the construction of the school, a spokesperson for the school said it would open in a temporary space in the fall. “We look forward to continuing to work with the city on permits for a permanent location,” the spokesperson was quoted as saying.
The primary school was announced in October last year will enroll students pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. It also aims to integrate a range of healthcare services, including mental health and prenatal care, into the facilities.
The couple recently announced to give away 99 percent of their Facebook shares — or $45 billion — in their lifetime to charity causes.
Declaring the “Chan Zuckerberg Initiative” in December last year as they welcomed their first girl child Maxima Chan Zuckerberg or “Max”, the couple said the foundation would initially focus on “personalised learning, curing disease, connecting people and building strong communities.”
“As you begin the next generation of the Chan Zuckerberg family, we also begin the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to join people across the world to advance human potential and promote equality for all children in the next generation,” they posted in a 2,200-word letter to their new-born daughter on Facebook.
“We will give 99 percent of our Facebook shares during our lives to advance this mission. We know this is a small contribution compared to all the resources and talents of those already working on these issues. But we want to do what we can, working alongside many others,” the couple wrote.
Facebook currently has over 1.65 billion monthly active users.