Guam News - Guam News
Guam - The Guam Department of Education is asking for a total of $294 million dollars for fiscal year 2013. It's an amount that lawmakers are calling unrealistically high.
Dim lights Embed Embed this video on your site
"We're requesting $272 million dollars in our basic budget request and a supplemental budget request of $22 million dollars to meet some of the other mandates,” explained DOE Superintendent Jon Fernandez. It's $79 million more than the governor's $215 million dollar request for DOE for FY 2013 and $85 million more than the $207 million they were appropriated for fiscal year 2012. "I think it's unrealistically high we know that that much is not available to give to them but we know that we have to give them no less than their current operating expenses and then there's what you call organic growth in the budget inflation, increments, retirement fund contributions, health insurance possibly all of those increase so they've gotta get that increase otherwise they're gonna have a shortfall,” said Fernandez.
So why did DOE request such a major increase in funding? They say a major reason is to provide the necessary personnel required to maintain the proper student teacher ratios. For example $20 million will go towards personnel in order to fill 42 vacancies and create 491 new positions. In addition to this Fernandez says that they have some new things that they are being mandated to fund for example $5.3 million for their third party fiduciary $1.9 million for their food services shortfall and $1.5 million for the maintenance and insurance of the Tiyan facility. "The curious thing about that $1.5 million dollar cost for operating Tiyan for maintenance and insurance is that money according to my understanding of the lease agreement is that we only are responsible for that if we exercise the option to purchase so if the governor is saying that i want this in the budget does than mean that he already exercised the option to purchase Tiyan at $125 million dollars total cost over the life of the financing? I think that's something that we're going to inquire and get an answer to because that'll be news to me if we're gonna say we're gonna by some fifty year old barracks for $125 million dollars."
Committee chairwoman of education speaker Judi Won Pat says that although doe presented their case well it's not likely that DOE will get the full amount they are asking for. "We're gonna have to find I guess a happy medium that will be able to address of course and meet the needs of the department but also to be able to address other areas,” said Speaker Won Pat. DOE's new superintendent is well aware that GovGuam likely does not have the money to give them $294 million dollars. "I don't know that they'll be able to give us the full amount but hopefully we'll be able to meet somewhere in the middle,” said Fernandez. Senator Pangelinan says that while their request is unrealistically high the governor's request is also too low for fiscal year 2013.
|< Prev||Next >|