Guam – Sit down with Guam Education Board chairman Mark Mendiola and his passion for education is apparent take a look at the Guam Department of Education budget request that the education board recently approved and you can see his top priorities for the education of public school students.
With the adoption of the of the Adequate Education Act GDOE has been mandated to provide a learning environment that is adequate and lives up to the standards setfourth in the Guam Code annotated. These standards are summarized by 14 main points that must be met. 344 of the $354 million requested is allotted to fulfilling the standards of those 14 points. A task that’s made more difficult with yearly budget shortfalls, as stated in the budget request submitted to the legislature GDOE has experienced cash shortfalls in the millions for five straight years starting with fiscal year 2014.
“What happens when the legislature in all of its wisdom does its appopriation and everyone says they fight for education, and then they hand it out and its about 100 million short. So then we go back and say what are we going to do to live within our means so we take it and retool it,” Mendiola stated
Moreover, more than half of the DOE budget request can be justified with allotments for personnel and safety. About $20 million going towards capital improvement projects to increase overall school saftey, and a whopping $153 million dollars is being requested for personnel and salaries. A steep figure but a price that is well worth being paid according Mendiola.
“Our top spending priority is certified teachers in the class room. We don’t want to go back to where we didn’t require teachers to be certified and we could just throw anyone in there. We’ve got to provide quality education,” Mendiola said.
The initial hearings for the GDOE budget proposal it set for Wednesday February 6. At that point Mendiola and the education board along with DOE officials will have their chance to justify their request to this new legislative group.
Tune in to PNC News nightly as we will look into another hot topic in our island education system and that is Charter Schools and who oversees their procurement process and where does their funding come from.