Over $100M Available to Fix School Facilities
Hagåtña, Guam – Last week, Acting Governor Josh Tenorio led a meeting with Acting Superintendent Dr. Judith T. Won Pat and Guam Department of Education (GDOE) representatives, along with former Acting Superintendent Francis Santos, Guam Power Authority (GPA) General Manager John Benavente, Department of Public Works Deputy Director Linda Ibanez, Guam State Clearinghouse Director Stephanie Flores, and the Governor’s legal counsel to address GDOE’s maintenance challenges.
“The Department of Education’s long-standing issues with maintaining facilities require a whole-of-government approach where all partners are addressing the various needs of our schools. Bringing all our subject matter experts, mobilizing their resources, and committing to long-term solutions is just the start. Our administration has already initiated an agreement with GPA to better support GDOE’s pressing electrical needs, and we hope to create similar solutions to provide for sustainable maintenance islandwide,” said Acting Governor Josh Tenorio. “In addition to supporting their procurement challenges, our administration can assist with requests to USDOE to reprogram our American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds to prioritize repairs of facilities and maximize these dollars.”
As previously stated by GDOE Acting Superintendent Won Pat, the plan is to maximize over $100 million in ARP funds to prioritize fixing school facilities, but their biggest hurdle continues to be GovGuam’s procurement process.
They also discussed issues with the reconstruction of Simon Sanchez High School (SSHS), which will require a legislative fix. The administration is currently working with GDOE on drafting legislation to address these challenges.
“I would like to thank Acting Governor Joshua Tenorio and his team for assisting the Department of Education with the construction of Simon Sanchez High School,” said Acting Superintendent Dr. Judith T. Won Pat. “I know that this is a project that they would like to see to completion. I also would like to express my appreciation and gratitude to the Acting Governor and our community partners in their efforts to support the department in the repair and maintenance of all our GDOE facilities.”
The next immediate step is for GDOE to get its spending plan revised and approved by USDOE.