GDOE budget amendment voted down

Amendments were made during session giving more support to the Guam Academy Charter School Council and more funding to the Guam Department of Education and Guam Office of Veterans Affairs.

Republican senators are denouncing the defeat of an amendment to strengthen what they call “school-based” budgeting.

According to Sen. Wil Castro, the minority leader, the push by the Republican Caucus to allocate approximately 90 percent of Guam Department of Education funds directly to the 41 public schools was voted down during today’s session.

Republican senator Telo Taitague moved to amend Bill No. 186-35, the budget bill, by including a section to dedicate $199 million of GDOE’s request of $219 million to the schools. In its current form, the Republican Caucus said the budget bill appropriates all the funds in a lump sum to GDOE.

“I am at a loss for words after my amendment appropriating funds directly to GDOE schools failed. How can senators object to making sure limited taxpayer funds are clearly set aside in the budget specifically for schools? What happened to all the talk during the campaign about putting students first?” Taitague, the minority whip, asked.

Castro said he supports decentralizing GDOE budget authority and school leaders can best support teaching and learning in the classroom if they are given the resources.

Sen. Louise Borja Muna, the assistant minority leader, said each school is best suited to determine how they should use limited resources to support teaching and learning in the classroom.

Republican Senators James C. Moylan and Democrat Senator Therese M. Terlaje also voted for the amendment.