Guam – A bi-partisan measure has been introduced to build a new Simon Sanchez High School.
The bill, funded through the maturity of tax bonds, was announced by Senators Brant McCreadie and Dennis Rodriguez during an assembly at the campus this afternoon.
“This is a bill to rebuild Simon Sanchez High School for you guys,” Senator McCreadie announced while holding a copy of Bill 218-32.
Seniors in the Leave Your Mark Project at Simon Sanchez have been vocal about the unsatisfactory conditions of their campus and are happy they’ve been heard.
“It feels really good to know that I’ve been heard by people that are much more important than I am,” said Senior Jesse Blas. “I really like the fact that they’re working on it they’ve heard us, they’re paying attention to us.”
A new Simon Sanchez was a campaign promise of Senator McCreadies and Senator Rodriguez says the bill is his way of fulfilling the oath that he and McCreadie signed when they took part in the Walk in the Shoes of a Shark Challenge last month.
“We wanna make sure that we finally get you the school that you need,” Rodriguez told students. “So that you can concentrate on learning in the classrooms and not thinking about whether waters gonna fall from the ceiling, or how hot it is, or how musty it is.”
The bill would reserve $4.8 Million from the maturity of GovGuam limited obligation business privilege tax bonds and would authorize the government to use the funds to enter into long term leases. McCreadie says this would allow construction to begin as early as next year.
“It’s a lease back portion so we wanna do it as a municipal lease because you can be a little more creative when you finance it,” McCreadie explained. “So what we’re saying that the bond matures in 2019, we’re not saying that we can turn dirt in 2019. We wanna turn dirt as soon as possible.”
While planning for the new construction has not yet begun and $4.8-million is far from the cost of the new $20 Million John F Kennedy High School, Mcreadie and Rodriguez point to already passed legislation that appropriates about $2 Million for the school and say with proper planning it shouldn’t cost much more to build a new campus. But what if $6.8 Million isn’t enough?
“Then we’re going to have to work to find them more,” McCreadie told PNC. “If the legislature can’t find the appropriate funds and the resources to build these kids a new school then maybe we should find a new job.”
Some of the students however realize that as of now this is only a bill that’s been introduced by lawmakers and there is a long ways to go before dirt is turned to construc a new campus.
“When I see the school be built then I will feel more accomplished,” senior Yvonne Slander told PNC.
Senators Tommy Morrision, Chris Duenas, Mike Limtiaco, Frank Aguon Jr and Rory Respicio are co-sponsors for the legislation.