Guam Education Board looks to sever ties with charter schools

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Guam Department of Education (PNC file photo)

Guam – The Guam Education Board is seeking a divorce with charter schools in light of an internal audit that shows the liability GDOE is facing in subsidizing the controversial Guahan Academy Charter School.

PNC’s Gia Righetti reports that at last night’s board meeting, a resolution was passed to separate GDOE’s budget from that of charter schools.

It appears that after years of financial mismanagement, failure to act upon recommendations, and failure to attain accreditation within the five years as required by law, that the Board has taken matters into their own hands, as they come before the Legislature again, to distance themselves from the burdens that have strained an already stretched thin department, as the failures of one particular charter school continue to make headlines.

The Resolution voted upon by seven members of the Board details concerns not only with the Guahan Academy Charter School but also with the Charter School Council.

With their candidacy status for accreditation withheld by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, GACS’s went before the Council to submit their application for renewal, a Hail Mary that seemed to connect.

Students and parents packed the Legislature’s Public Hearing Room, as emotional testimony was given.

In a less than fanfare event, the Council voted on June 14 in favor of GACS’s five year charter renewal, despite the legal requirement to attain accreditation in five years, as per Guam law.

It was this action that has the GEB expressing serious concerns with the Council’s ability to oversee charter schools and hold them accountable for failure to meet requirements in law.

Requests had previously been made by Superintendent Jon Fernandez to the Council, recommending that GACS’s be placed on probation, a measure taken to compel them to address deficiencies in operations and financial management, and this Resolution contains another one such recommendation.

GEB Chairman, Mark Mendiola spoke with Newstalk K57’s Patti Arroyo earlier today, speaking on the adopted Resolution.

“You know, hopefully this discussion can lead us to quality change, that either they separate us completely which is that they’ll give their support to the Charter Council to do its work, or give us the Department of Education which they’re actually tasking us a lot because based on the law our central office is supposed to provide validation, in addition to that our Superintendent by law is on the charter council, so he also has to be a part of that so we have another system which is GDOE and he has to figure out and manage his time to prioritize the issue that’s facing the department so that’s the reason why we strongly worded this resolution to basically say you know something’s gotta happen and if we continue down this path, we’re going to continue to you know, raise the questions,” said Mendiola.