GDOE and charter school butt heads over facility use

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Guam – The leadership of Guahan Academy Charter School and the Guam Department of Education are butting heads over the charter school’s interest in using the department’s facility space to accommodate its growing student population.

GACS Chief Academic Officer Judi Won Pat has persistently requested the use of Building E despite refusal from education superintendent Jon Fernandez.

In a letter to Won Pat, Fernandez said, “You continued to relay the Guahan Academy Charter School’s request for additional facility space. At this time I am not able to provide you with a solution to your request.”

Fernandez questioned why GACS is unable to meet its facility needs without availing itself of another government facility.

The current school campus is provided by the government and is supposed to serve as a starter location for charter schools in need of an interim facility.

In the letter, Fernandez said that he does not believe that GACS should be given preferential treatment. Further questioning GACS’ ability to pay off the $3.7 million debt which he said should be a concern to teachers and staff at the school.

“Forcing GDOE to forego its educational priorities to accommodate a charter school that has not provided details regarding its plan to pay its debt and secure its own facilities, as other charter schools have been able to demonstrate is not reflective of what I consider to be a partnership.”

In response to the letter, Won pat said, “I was plainly disheartened for our public school students here at the Charter School that a loss opportunity for an educational facility was given greater opportunity to house the CHamoru Language and Culture Revitalization Center at the Same Building.”

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Jolene Toves
Jolene joined the PNC team in 2017, as a producer, co-anchor and investigative reporter covering law enforcement, courts and crimes. Notable coverage includes the Ehlert case, the Mark Torre Jr. trial, the Allan Agababa trial, exclusive pieces on the Life of a Drug Dealer/Addict, and Life behind bars...the story of Honofre Chargualaf and Kevin Cruz. In 2019, she was promoted to Assistant News Director and Lead Anchor. From 2015 to 2017 she served as Public Relations and Promotions Manager, for the Hotel Nikko Guam handling local radio and advertorial promotions, as well as produced and directed tv commercials for the hotel. Prior to this she worked with KUAM for three years as a reporter and segment host. She began her journalism career in 2012, working with Glimpses of Guam contributing to the Guam Business Magazine, R&R magazine, MDM magazine and the Marianas Business Journal.