New Central High School Possible if DOE Budget Increases
Governor supports agreement
The Governor and the Department of Education have reached an agreement that will solve a decade-old problem: alleviate the severe crowding at George Washington High School by opening a new central high school in Tiyan.
The DOE, since the administration of former Superintendent Nerissa Underwood, has requested the use of the Tiyan facility temporarily occupied by Untalan Middle School. Both Underwood and Superintendent Jon Fernandez have told the Governor that DOE wants to use the Tiyan facility for a central high school.
There have been two major issues that have kept the administration from moving forward with committing to the use of the facility for a central high school:
1.     Who will pay for the leaseback payments once the government of Guam exercises the option to purchase (which expires at the end of this year)?
2.     How will we afford the additional staffing and facilities-expense requirements for a new high school?
Fernandez yesterday met with the Governor’s senior staff to go over the budgetary needs of his department. At that meeting, the Governor’s Office asked how much more Fernandez will need from the Governor and Republican senators’ proposed FY2014 budget level of $220 million to DOE to open and run a central high school. Fernandez today wrote to the Governor confirming that a $225 million lump sum budget to DOE for FY2014 will provide the resources necessary to run the public schools and to operate a new central high school. The proposal is to open the new high school in time for the start of School Year 2014-2015.
Excerpts from Fernandez’s letter (attached) to the Governor:
“I am heartened by your proposal to raise the GDOE budget to $225 million, exclusive of the Hay Study impact. With this funding level, we will be able to operate the school system; protect new facility investments such as the expansion of Okkodo High School, the relocation of Untalan Middle School, and renovation of Southern High School’s fine arts auditorium and gym; and solve a long-standing problem — over-crowding at George Washington High School.”
“Should you propose and the Legislature fully fund a “lump sum” education budget at the $225 million level, exclusive of the Hay Study, and with the amendment to the Tiyan lease, I am confident that GDOE will be well-positioned in FY2014 to address the needs of students and their families. Therefore, I ask that this appropriated level appear in your new budget submission.”
The Governor supports this plan and has directed his fiscal team to adjust FY2014 budget numbers to prioritize the higher DOE appropriation level. This change to the budget will be done without consideration of the potential impact of Bill No. 174, which still is pending a decision from the Governor.
The Governor will move forward on the needed amendment to the Tiyan lease once he is assured of the passage of a budget that includes this level for DOE, and is within the range of the budget levels the Governor previously sent to senators.
“There’s room to compromise here. As long as we prioritize education, healthcare, and safety, we’re still willing to compromise to make this budget process work,” Governor Calvo said.

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