"Where's the money going?" -Sen. Joe San Agustin to DOEWritten by Rebecca Elmore
Guam - At a town hall meeting this morning, Senator Joe San Agustin, the Chairman on Education suggested DOE’s FY18 Budget Request was a little lacking and in desperate need of clarification.
"I'll ask you today, tweak it, fix it, and make the resolution something that everything every senator can understand,” San Augustin advised.
Guam Education Board finance Chairman Mark Mendiola told the senatorial panel that the budget was based on the 14 points in DOE’s resolution. But San Agustin said that's not exactly what he received.
“I have some problems with the 14 points that they identified because those 14 points was identified by law to make sure it was being addressed,” he explained.
For FY18, GDOE determined that nearly $324 million was sufficient to meet the goals of the department, which is around $2 million less than what was requested for last fiscal year. Overall, the resolution lists a general snapshot of GDOE's current priorities, but that didn't seem to satisfy the education chairman who was hoping for something a little more specific.
For example, San Agustin points out the very first item that requests a little over $139 million for “a certified teacher for every class in a ratio established by relevant collective bargaining agreements," which he says does little to justify the cost.
“What is it costing them? Is the additional $139 million gonna give you an additional teacher? Is it gonna give you a bunch of substitute teachers? What else is it gonna give you because it's not explained. And that's why I go back to the (resolution), it doesn't really answer the questions in the digest. And it needs to,” he shared.
Superintendent Jon Fernandez, assured San Agustin that any and all information he needed for the line items would be provided as soon as possible.
In response, the Education Chairman reiterated his support for DOE as well:
“I'm here to listen and support DOE, but I want everyone to understand, where's the money at?”
You can read DOE’s Budget Resolution and FY18 Request in its entirety by clicking on the attached documents below.