New law expected to boost educational funding, which would be used to reduce student-teacher ratios in schools.
Guam – President Obama has signed an historic education bill that will mean millions in new education dollars for Guam public schools.
The president was surrounded by bill sponsors and education officials, as he signed the “Every Student Succeeds Act” in a White House ceremony.
“So, with that, let me sign this bill, alright?”
The new law replaces the 2001 “No Child Left behind” law and would boost territory Title I education funding by nearly 25% for Guam, according to Congressional Research Service estimates. Bureau of Indian Education schools would be separated out from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act formula and receive their own, separate allocation.
Congressman Greg “Kilili” Sablan, on the Education Committee, led the fight for a formula change for the islands, starting last year.
Sablan says, “The public school officials have told me that they would use this new money to hire more teachers, and reduce student-teacher ratios in our schools. And we know from research, educational research, that improved student-teacher ratios mean improved student performance, and this is very good news for our students.”
Island and BIE schools together, now receive just one percent of total national funding under Title I, and that leaves Guam with just under 16 million in public school funding, today.
Growth in that figure hinges on an overall fiscal 2017 national hike in appropriations, when the new bill starts, and the local proportion of low-income students.
But funding is expected to increase, based on two-year budget numbers and local poverty levels, and that could mean another four million or so, in much needed relief for Guam public schools.