Charter school awarded Building E lease

Guahan Academy Charter School (PNC file photo)

Governor Lou Leon Guerrero has approved a lease with only the Guahan Academy Charter School (GACS) for the use of Building E.

However, she has ordered GACS to continue working with the Guam Department of Education towards a sublease to avoid any interruption to any special education services operating out of Building E.

“I am saddened that the months of cooperative work towards addressing the shared use of Building E of the Tiyan campus did not result in a lease between my office, GDOE, and GACS. This has been an ongoing conversation that started with the previous administration since early 2018 and I was hopeful that GDOE would agree that the space could be shared with GACS as I had proposed. Unfortunately, that did not happen, and I am forced to approve a lease with only GACS,” the governor wrote in a letter to GDOE Superintendent Jon Fernandez.

In her letter, the governor acknowledged that GACS is a charter school and it has benefited from government subsidies more so than any other charter school.

“Even so, my decision is not about choosing GACS over GDOE; it is about the nearly 740 students whose educational livelihood depends on the success of GACS. GACS is poised to become self-sufficient within the next two years. It has made significant progress in locating a permanent campus which will allow it to not rely upon government buildings to operate,” the governor said.

She added: “I am certain that an agreement can be worked out if GDOE will actually wants that outcome. However, I will understand if GDOE opts to just move its special education auditory and
transportation services to another location.”

Finally, the governor encouraged GDOE to review its entire inventory of resources.

“Like it or not, our laws contemplate a government that encourages the success of charter schools. I believe that GDOE can do more to support a compassionate learning environment island-wide. Sharing would be a good start,” the governor said.

Judith Won Pat, chief academic officer of Guahan Academy Charter School, echoed the governor’s statement, saying that the charter school does not want to rely on government buildings and wants to have a permanent campus.

Won Pat, in an interview with Andrea Pellacani on NewsTalk K57, said the charter school’s goal is still to build its own campus and there is a plan to issue an RFP for that.

“We want to have our own campus so we can have the facilities to expand our program,” Won Pat said.