March 16, 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Guam Department of Education will be holding off on deeper cost-cutting measures after senators passed Bill 248-34 on Thursday. Bill 248-34 provides a revenue solution that helps offset the financial crisis affecting the government of Guam.
GDOE management will be working with Governor Eddie Calvo and his fiscal team over the next week to discuss the revenue projections from the tax increase authorized by Bill 248-34, and to begin mapping out a plan for the remainder of the fiscal year.
Given this development, the GDOE will be holding off on Phase II and Phase III cost reduction plans at this time. This means GDOE will not move forward with freezing salary increments, limiting substitute teachers and freezing hiring at the school level. Any decision to implement the 32-hour work week or October 1st school year will also be delayed.
However, Phase I reductions – which include the central office hiring freeze, delay of pre-kindergarten expansion, delayed reclassification, reduction in utilities and contracts, delayed on-boarding of substitute teachers until October 1st, as well as flexibility to use library, textbook and other funds for operations – will remain in place.
“We would like to thank the Legislature and most especially the senators who voted for Bill 248-34, to include Senator Joe San Agustin, Senator Wil Castro, Senator Tom Ada, Speaker BJ Cruz, Senator Jim Espaldon, Senator Fernando Esteves, Senator Tommy Morrison and Senator Louise Muna,” GDOE Superintendent Jon Fernandez said. “This bill will provide us with breathing room as we work to adjust to the federal tax changes over the next few months.”
“We would also like to thank Governor Calvo for meeting with our students, and for his commitment to working with our department to provide the necessary funding,” Guam Education Board Chairman Mark Mendiola said. “Most of all, I want to thank our teachers, staff and parents who made their voices heard with our elected officials over the past few weeks.”
“Our student leaders also met with the Legislature and Governor prior to Thursday’s vote,” GEB Vice Chairwoman Maria Gutierrez said. “I am sure that all of our voices together had an impact as our elected leaders deliberated the solutions before them, and ultimately voted to approve a measure that will help stabilize our department.”
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