Guam – Guam Public Schools will remain open. The threatened shutdown Monday was averted after Bureau of Budget and Management Research [BBMR] Director Bertha Duenas helped the Department of Education identify the funds that were already available within DOE’s own budget.
At an emergency meeting Friday evening, School officials laid out the financial solution outlined by the BBMR Director.
Following a meeting with DOE Deputy Superintendent of Finance, Taling Taitano, the BBMR Director wrote a letter Friday to Superintendent Underwood, stating that Taitano provided a “revised projection” which “indicates that sufficient funds are available for regular operations of Guam DOE for the balance of the fiscal year.”
After Underwood received Duenas’ letter Friday afternoon, she announced that the school system will not have to shut down.
This week’s financial showdown began in July when DOE started out requesting $10 million, which then fell to $8 million then earlier this past week Superintendent Dr. Nerissa Underwood said only $5 million was needed.
Finally, on Friday DOE Deputy of Finance Taling Taitano said the school system could make it to the end of the current fiscal school year with only $3 million.
And on that the BBMR Director agreed pointing out that those funds are available within the current budget and with them, DOE can certify the next payroll.
“BBMR will release the unreleased appropriations of $2,014,965,” writes Duenas, ” still keeping intact the 3% reserve.” In additiona, “BBMR will also release from the 3% reserves the nominal balance of $840,935 to pay the balance of the prior years obligations not covered.”
Duenas told PNC News, “This whole issue centers around DOE’s ability to certify the payroll and as far as I can see, there’s no reason not to certify it.”
“The solution has always been there,” she said, “but it was just an understanding on how it works.”