Education board approves $373.16 million budget for FY 2022

Guam Department of Education (PNC file photo)

The Guam Education Board has approved a $373.16 million budget for FY2022.

The board members approved the new budget, which is about $8.14 million more than what they requested for in FY 2021

During the discussion, board member Maria Gutierrez asked the committee not to take out the proposed budget for school aides in the budget resolution as they are still very much needed, especially when students are coming back to school.

“I’ve been up to the schools and I see a need for school aides to remain within budget because the kids are coming back. I’ve talked to students and they said they want to go every day,” Gutierrez said.

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She added: “I just want to make sure that these school aide positions are not zeroed out just like facility and maintenance. Seeing what I saw today, I was not satisfied and I know that this position should have the manpower.”

In response to Gutierrez’s recommendation, Guam Department of Education Superintendent Jon Fernandez says that the budget numbers reflected in the resolution is what the board will be approving and it already encompasses all of those items that are costed out in the underlining schedules.

“The vacant and new positions is really a point in time and it was taken earlier as we prepared the budget. But over the course of time, positions are being filled and vacated on an ongoing basis,” Fernandez said.

Over $276 million of the proposed budget will go to effectively staff and operate all 41 GDOE schools at departments’ current level operations.

Fernandez says they are also still in the early quarter and still have to receive TEFF funds that will come after property taxes which will give GDOE additional opportunities to fill in these positions.

The superintendent added that possibly by March of this year, these items will be rediscussed and they will see that flux of property tax payments that might provide GDOE with additional budgetary relief.

“And then we can brief the board at that time in terms of the hiring and the other costs they are tracking,” Fernandez said.