San Agustin: Budget bill gives GDOE ‘flexibility’

Sen. Joe S. San Agustin (PNC file photo)

The General Appropriations Act of 2020 has a provision that allows the Guam Department of Education the flexibility to address its priorities by providing specific budgetary allocations to each of the schools under the department’s purview.

Out of GDOE’s $219 million budget, around $199 million has been itemized directly to public schools.

The budget bill also provides the principals the budgetary authority to transfer funds in between schools.

This is the first time that this budgetary practice has been proposed for the public school system.

During a press conference, concerns were raised over the principals’ budgetary authority and whether the superintendent gave his thumbs up before the provision was included in the budget bill.

Speaker Joe San Agustin, the appropriations committee chairman, said the principals asked to be allowed to speak about their budget.

“When I was with the board of education, that’s something that I was pushing for. Let’s get the funding to the schools. Because every year, you guys are burnt out – not enough school aides, not enough teachers, not enough funding for the schools,” San Agustin said.

San Agustin said that his new budget proposal places money directly into the schools. He also clarified that GDOE Superintendent Jon Fernandez is still in charge of the schools despite providing a limited budgetary authority to the principals.