Concerns were raised by Senators during yesterday’s budget hearing for the Guam Department of Education.
PNC’s Damen Michael has this story
Telena Nelson, Senator of the 36th Guam Legislature stated and quotes, ” The Guam education board really should reconvene and address this educator pay so that we could have something in your budget request saying okay educator pay came out we need an additional 30 million dollars because what I’m seeing in the news is thank you, governor, for getting us this educator pay and I’m thinking where’s this money going to come from. ”
Officials from the Guam Education Board and the Department of Education appeared before Senators of the 36th Guam Legislature presenting the fiscal year 2023 budget request in hopes to be appropriated for approximately 268 million dollars.
Chairman of the GEB Mark Mendiola said in his opening statement that, ” this budget was presented before you started last year when budget calls have been made to all the schools.”
However, the appropriation of 268 million does not include the estimated 30 million dollars it will cost to cover the educator pay adjustment.
For the remainder of FY22, Superintendent Fernandez estimates that it will cost around 10 million dollars to be appropriated for the educator pay plan. A question raised to the Superintendent was whether or not GDOE has the funds to cover the costs.
In which superintendent Fernandez states, ” We have federal funds and balances that if USDOE could be used to help with this but first we need their concurrences and that’s part of our due diligence is otherwise I’ve informed the lieutenant governor that if we don’t get this approved we need to figure out of there are any other revenue sources otherwise the commitment that was made won’t be realized. ”
When asked about the 30 million dollar funding source, Fernandez says “that’s something that we at GDOE look up to you and the governor to determine where the funding would come from because as presented it is 268 just to keep the lights on and pay for current operations.”
Moreover in an interview on Newstalk k57 with Patti Arroyo, Governor Lou Leon Guerrero said that she “would not have announced the GDOE Educator Pay Plan approval without working with the superintendent, her fiscal team, DOA, and other executives to plan out where the funding source would come from.”
Governor further states, ” for the remainder of this fiscal year which is about 4 or 5 months and as we see an estimate of what maybe will be needed to fund the remainder of the fiscal year is about maybe 8 to 10 million and so GDOE said that they could absorb that cost and of course we are going to work with them if they are short and we will transfer money into DOE to cover salaries. ”
Governor Leon Guerrero also adds that for the fiscal year 2023 senator Joe San Augustin would amend the budget to cover the fiscal year 2023 budget.
Damen Michael PNC News First.