GACS awaits AG opinion on over-enrollment issue

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“The law does state that charter schools abide by the law and a budget law is a law,” explained GACSC Chairwoman Amanda Blas.

Guam – Because Guahan Academy Charter School is facing over-enrollment issues, the charter council has now turned to the Attorney General’s Office to sort out the occupancy woes.

“We’re specifically asking for the opinion regarding the budget law,” explained GACSC Chairwoman Amanda Blas.

She added, “As it has been covered in the media, the charter school did enroll more students than the budget law funds. So, we are seeking clarification: do we limit a school’s enrollment based on what the budget law says? Or may they over-enroll and just have to seek other sources not through public or local budget?”

GACS administrators admitted at the last work session that they enrolled over 1,000 students, but public law caps funding for the school at 740 students.

“There was the issue that there is about 300 students that would look at maybe more than a million dollar shortfall because of over-enrollment. So, there is a concern about what will be sacrificed for the students,” Blas said.

This over-enrollment issue has manifested itself into other problems as well. It turns out, that GACS’s new building doesn’t have the capacity to house the students they over-enrolled.

According to Superintendent Jon Fernandez, the Department of Public Works has capped the capacity limit of their new building to 360 high school students, but GACS has enrolled about 390-400.

“They did mention that services will not be sacrificed based on this. They are looking at grant funding, but there are a couple of issues that council members brought up. For example, in our charter school the law does state that charter schools abide by the law and a budget law is a law,” she added.

GACSC Chairwoman Blas says they’ll just have to wait until the attorney general renders her opinion.

Meanwhile, GACS Board Consultant Marilyn Manibusan refused to answer any questions on the over-enrollment dilemma or the accusations waged against her by a former GACS employee. The work session to address the former employee’s allegations have been tabled to another date.