Guam – Senator Ben Pangelinan is accusing Governor Calvo and Core Tech of making a “behind-closed-door deal” by adding into their Lease and Purchase agreement terms to build a new DOE central office and warehouses for DOE at a cost of $175 million.
“Why are we paying $175 million for GDOE central offices and warehouses,” asks the Senator in a release, “when there is $90 million in deferred maintenance costs for all our public schools?.”
Guam Attorney General Lenny Rapadas signed off on the contract Tuesday and sent it to the Governor’s Office. Administration Spokesman Phil Leon Guerrero said that the Governor will sign it.
The Senator is also critical of DOE Superintendent Jon Fernandez for, what Pangelian says, is the Superintendent’s support for the deal. The Senator asks Fernandez to explain “his rationale behind his vocal support for the purchase of the 50-year-old former military barracks in Tiyan..” And he urges Fernandez “to reconsider his stance.”
Pangelinan also says that the deal between GovGuam and Core Tech “allows Core Tech to transfer or assign tax credits to any private company it chooses.” He calls that provision “absurd.”
“It is always my hope,” states the Senator, “that government corruption does not get in the way of what is right and just for our people and our students.”
READ the release from Senator Pangelinan below:
PANGELINAN TO SUPERINTENDENT: WHAT HAPPENED TO STUDENTS FIRST?
FOR IMMEDIATE NEWS RELEASE (December 26, 2013 – Hagåtña, GU) – With new information being disclosed about the behind-closed-door deal between Governor Edward J. B. Calvo and Core Tech International Corporation (Core Tech) such as the addition of buying and building new central offices and warehouses for the Guam Department of Education (GDOE) and other ancillary facilities at a cost of $175 million, Senator Vicente “ben” C. Pangelinan (D), Chairman of the Committee on Appropriations, Public Debt, Retirement, Legal Affairs, Public Parks, Recreation, Historic Preservation, and Land (Committee), is asking the Superintendent of Education about his rationale behind his vocal support for the purchase of the 50-year-old former military barracks in Tiyan.
“It seems that the Superintendent’s support of this deal leaves our students last with regards to repairs and maintenance of their schools. If we have $175 million to spend, it should first go to improving our children’s schools rather than building new GDOE central offices and warehouses,” stated Pangelinan.
Pangelinan cites a Condition Assessment Summary of the Guam Public Schools commissioned by the U.S. Department of the Interior Office of Insular Affairs and conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which pegs the Deferred Maintenance of GDOE schools at almost $90 million. “Why are we paying $175 million for GDOE central offices and warehouses and ancillary facilities that we currently do not have to pay for, when there is $90 million in deferred maintenance costs for all our public schools?,” questioned Pangelinan.
“This sweet-heart deal being provided to Core Tech by the governor of Guam will cost the taxpayers about $175 million for just the GDOE central offices and warehouses and ancillary facilities, both for which neither GDOE nor the GovGuam currently pays,” explained Pangelinan. “I urge the Superintendent of Education to reconsider his stance on this issue, as he said himself that students are first in his education address back in November.
In addition, Pangelinan states that, “it is absurd to think that providing a sweet-heart deal to a private company that is able to transfer these tax credits to other private companies, is being prioritized over our students,” stated Pangelinan. The current lease agreement as amended, between GovGuam and Core Tech allows Core Tech to transfer or assign tax credits to any private company it chooses.
“With the secret negotiations being done by the governor and Core Tech, it is always my hope that government corruption does not get in the way of what is right and just for our people and our students. Our schools can be better for them and giving away $300 million will surely prevent GovGuam from providing a better learning environment for all of our public school students moving forward,” concluded Pangelinan.