New major education bill is expected to make Guam eligible to compete for pre-school development grants and innovation grants.
Washington, D.C. – More money for Guam schools, that’s the bottom-line for the island in a major education bill, the U.S. House was moving to passage, and the Senate’s expected to pass next week.
The “Every Child Succeeds Act” reforms the 2001 “No Child Left Behind” law, and would boost territory funding from about zero-point-three percent of all Title I funding, to zero-point-four–or about one-third, a hefty increase for Guam public schools.
Bureau of Indian Education schools would be separated out from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act formula and receive their own, separate allocation.
The new formula came after a year-long effort led by CNMI Congressman Greg “Kilili’ Sablan, on the Education Committee.
According to Sablan, “Funding for elementary and secondary education nationwide, is 10,667 dollars per student. In my district, we can’t provide 6,246. And that is not for lack of local commitment.”
Sablan says with household incomes in the Marianas less than half the nation median, federal support is more than half of per-pupil spending. The islands and BIE schools together, now receive just 1-percent of total national funding under Title I, and that leaves the Guam Department of Education with just fifteen million under the program.
Growth in that figure hinges on an overall fiscal 2017 state hike in appropriations, when the new bill starts, and the local proportion of low-income students.
But funding is expected to increase, and a thirty percent or so increase could mean millions more in federal aid for Guam public schools.
The Every Child Succeeds Act which has broad-bipartisan support, would also make the island eligible to compete for pre-school development grants and innovation grants, to improve student achievement.