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Charter school questioned at GEB meeting
THE controversial 4AB schedule was finally rescinded during a Guam Education Board meeting held yesterday at the Okkodo High School.
Board member Joe S. San Agustin put forward the motion to rescind the schedule, which was approved by other members of the board.
In an interview with the Variety, Guam Department of Education Superintendent Jon Fernandez said the school board had been in talks about reversing prior action made on the 4AB schedule.
After the rescinding of the schedule, Fernandez said the next step is to look at the intent of what the scheduling was supposed to accomplish.
“How do we ensure that we place our students on track for graduation? Scheduling is one way to open up options to meet both our curriculum requirements and make sure that enough credits are going towards graduation. These are things that have to start in ninth grade,” Fernandez said.
He added there should be a comprehensive plan for moving kids from the ninth grade on to a path toward graduation – not just focusing on the scheduling, but looking at all the issues in a broader context.
Meanwhile, the opening of the Guåhan Academy Charter School was also questioned during the GEB meeting.
The proposed charter school initially had a proposed budget allocation of at least $3 million, which was approved by the Guam Academy of Charter Schools Council in a meeting held earlier this month.
One of the questions raised during the meeting was the $5500 per pupil cost proposed for the charter school. Since the budget will come out of GDOE funds, a proposal to look at actual costs to educate each student was also presented.
If approved, Fernandez said accountability measures will have to be developed and implemented to oversee the performance of the school since the money comes out of the GDOE budget.
Although the charter school is aiming for an Oct. 1 opening, a location for the school has not yet been finalized. A possibility of setting up the school at the Core Tech facility in Tiyan was earlier explored.
“I’ve read the language and the budget bill and I got to review it. I’ve got my staff to review it just to clarify what exactly was put into the budget. My impression is that the charter school still has some way to go to move forward to find a facility and to enroll students,” Fernandez stated after the school board meeting.
“I am expecting that they will sit down with us and talk about whether there is still something that they would require from GDOE,” he added.
Despite the enforcement of an executive order to freeze salary increments in line agencies and instrumentalities of the Executive branch of the government of Guam, the school board during its meeting yesterday also approved to pay the salary increments for GDOE employees.
According to Fernandez, the department is putting aside around $2 million to pay these obligations owed by the department.
Board member San Agustin, who put forward the motion, said: “The employees are entitled to the increments. It’s an obligation that the department has to pay.”