DOE Superintendent Jon Fernandez wrote to the legislative Speaker today pleading with the Legislature to listen to DOE about public school needs.
The basis of Fernandez’s letter (which we attach) is Bill No. 309, which is on session floor for senatorial debate. Bill 309 takes money that does not exist and appropriates it to a number of areas. One of the appropriations is $6 million (that does not exist) to renovate George Washington High School so that GW can hold more students. The bill’s author, Sen. Pangelinan, wants GW to be legally overcrowded in his effort to prevent the opening of a new high school or its improvements.
Fernandez, in his letter that backs up the Board of Education’s very strong opposition to Bill 309, objects to the language of the bill for two main reasons:
–       FIRST: The students will best be served by the new campus at Tiyan. Derailing DOE’s efforts at Tiyan High School is not in the best interests of students. What DOE needs is the Legislature’s support so, at the very least, the gymnasium (and other athletic facilities) can be built at Tiyan High School.
–       SECOND: If there is $6 million to appropriate, Fernandez would like the Legislature to fill the void left by the Legislature’s over-projection of Territorial Education Facilities Fund revenues. This over-projection caused a deficit for DOE, which meant a shortfall for the operations DOE needs to pay for.
Sen. Tommy Morrison very forcefully defended the autonomy of the Board of Education and DOE’s management. He raised Fernandez’s letter to Won Pat on session floor before Democrats recessed to caucus.
Governor Calvo reminds senators that he will not move on the Tiyan improvements unless the Legislature gives him indication that they want him to do so.  Click the link below to read the letter in its entirety.
Fernandez Letter to Speaker Won Pat

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