Won Pat shares concerns on legislation creating more charter schools

Judith Won Pat. Photo by PNC's Isaiah Aguon

Democrat Sen. Chris Barnett of the 37th Guam Legislature introduced legislation with the intent to create more Charter Schools that address neglected areas of education in Guam’s public school system. He is the chairperson of the Legislative Committee on Education.

Bill 62-37 seeks to amend Guam Law by allowing for private religious schools to apply to become Charter Schools.

Under current Guam Law, only public and non-sectarian schools are allowed to become Charters.

However, the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated discrimination between sectarian and non- sectarian government funding for schools.

The measure also seeks to increase the number of Charters that are allowed under the Guam Department of Education to seven.

If enacted, Bill 62 would permit for elementary and middle schools to become Charters for CHamoru language, music, physical fitness, and the performing arts.

Judith Won Pat, acting GDOE superintendent, who’s the former CEO of Guahan Academy Charter School, said during an interview with Newstalk K57’s Patti Arroyo that she will submit testimony for this bill soon, but that the measure needs to be well thought out before passing it.

Won Pat, the legislative author of the charter school law, shared her concerns regarding how more Charter schools would cut GDOE’s funding short, as even if these schools run independently from DOE, they still use its funding.

“Charter schools really, are public schools, are private-public schools meaning that they run independently from GDOE, of public education, but they are public schools so that the first and foremost thing that’s very important and should be a part of this deal,” she said.