Education board eyes elimination of high-paying jobs that are no longer needed

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The Guam Education Board feels that certain high positions across the public school system should be cut.

During a meeting with the Guam Education Board Friday morning, members of the board discussed current positions at GDOE.

Because of the Guam Department of Education’s reduced budget, some GEB members felt that GDOE should prioritize what jobs are needed during this time, even suggesting that high-cost positions that no longer seem to be critical be eliminated, especially those that were left open for years.

But GDOE Superintendent Jon Fernandez says that although the board members’ questions and suggestion are valid, the board needs to recognize the conflicting guidelines, policies, and directions that GDOE is trying to harmonize when doing the budget.

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“If we have a collective bargaining agreement and, of course, that’s locked in, and told it’s near expiration, then we can renegotiate. But what we signed off on was a commitment to provide that necessary support. So our guidelines to our schools are if you meet those requirements and the CBA calls for those positions, the policy decision is to request those positions in the budget,” Fernandez said.

He added: “If some principals feel that they are able to do without certain high positions like assistant principals, others may say otherwise, especially if they meet the policy to add another individual even if their enrollment may look far less than other schools with similar positions open.”

Fernandez stresses that GDOE is not opposed to the direction of the board in those matters and that it is even appreciative of the proposals. However, he says the board should give GDOE that direction as well because if it’s in conflict with any current policies, it must be addressed directly.

For home distance learning, GDOE does have a technology division that provides technical support and laptop maintenance for employees and students. They also have federal resources to try to outsource some of the necessary support for new equipment being brought in.

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