GEB members air gripes against new education budget

192
Education board members expressed their concerns about the new decentralized budget proposal for the Guam Department of Education.

Members of the Guam Education Board yesterday aired their dissatisfaction about the education budget proposed by Sen. Joe S. San Agustin, who chairs the appropriations committee of the Legislature.

In a meeting with Sen. Telena Nelson, who chairs the legislative education committee, education board members expressed their concerns about the new decentralized budget proposal for the Guam Department of Education.

GEB Maria A. Gutierrez said the education board was not consulted at all in the formulation of the new decentralized GDOE budget.

“Please tell your colleague that we were not consulted. And I’m surprised that the author of the bill is not even here because we wanted to ask questions,” Gutierrez said.

Education board member James C. Lujan also said that it’s “disturbing” that the oversight chair of such a big department as GDOE is not a member of the legislative appropriations committee.

“What good is the board if it is undermined? Why are we being cut out in the last minute? The legislature has done everything except give us the money,” Lujan said.

For GEB member John T. Burch, his biggest problem is the line item budgeting in the current GDOE budget proposal.

“Just give the superintendent the flexibility and authority to move resources around,” Burch said.

Responding to the board members’ grievances, Sen. Nelson said the legislature should not be seen in an adversarial position with the education board and GDOE.

“This is not the Legislature versus the board. I want to hear your concerns. Let’s work this out,” Nelson said.

She added: “If there’s a way to make the budget bill better, I’m open to that. If there’s a better way, I’m here to listen.”

##