As a necessary response to the $1.8 million budget reduction in general fund appropriation and other budget pressures faced by the Guam Department of Education, GDOE Superintendent Jon Fernandez yesterday announced cost-cutting measures to ensure resources for classrooms and students are protected.
GDOE’s budget concerns for Fiscal Year 2013 also include a $1.1 million reduction to fund a charter school organization; a new $1.5 million obligation to pay for maintenance and insurance costs for the leased John F. Kennedy High School; $4 million to fund the third party fiduciary as required by the federal government; and $1.1 million in additional food services costs.
A September 2012 circular from the Bureau of Budget and Management Research also imposes a 15 percent reserve on general and special fund appropriations, which is approximately $30 million of the department’s budget.
“It is clear that resources for our public school children are going to be hard to come by in this current economy,” said Fernandez. “We, as a department, have to do something, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, to ensure that we protect our classrooms and our children from these budget pressures. We need to reduce unnecessary costs and make those resources available to our students.”
In a memo sent to GDOE employees, Fernandez directed GDOE divisions to take specific measures to reduce unnecessary costs. These measures include eliminating color copying and printing, with few exceptions and “going paperless” to disseminate information.
Employee overtime will also be prohibited except in the event of an emergency situation and energy usage reduced to set savings from fiscal year 2013. Savings from this measure will support school- and classroom-based priorities.
The department will also remain in compliance with the executive order on freezing salary increments to employees. Moreover, hiring non-teaching positions requires justification and will undergo additional scrutiny by Fernandez.
Fernandez also plans “to review staffing patterns to identify opportunities to share resources between divisions and between schools and to appoint a budget task force to help identify other cost containment options.”