Can GovGuam afford to keep JFK in Tiyan? - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Can GovGuam afford to keep JFK in Tiyan?

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by Michele Catahay

Guam - It's clear that the John F. Kennedy High School community wants to stay at the Tiyan campus for next school year. The question is whether the Government of Guam will be able to afford the costs to keep them at the interim campus in Tiyan until a permanent school is built.

It was a packed house in Hagatna last night as the JFK High School community listened intently to discussion regarding where they'll be attending classes come next school year. It was evident options like separating students by grade level and double-session at GW High were not acceptable and that returning to the interim campus in Tiyan was the most favorable.

The problem, according to JFK Exit Task Force Chairperson Gayle Hendricks, is funding.  "It's $4.9 [million] for this year, $5.1 [million] for next year and the following year and then it goes up again," she stated.

It's money that GovGuam cannot provide without the help of the Guam Legislature and the governor.  "There's no money in the budget to pay for an additional year for the lease. So where does the money come from? Is it going to have to go back to the Legislature? Which the answer is yes, to clarify where we're at."

With the construction of a new JFK campus at a standstill, tied up with the Office of Public Accountability and now possibly tied up in the legal system, DOE Attorney Fred Nishihara says it could take up to three months before the case is even heard in court.  "Anytime you go to court, it's quite a lengthy process honestly. What happens is that it needs to be assigned to a judge. After that occurs, they set up an initial status call and then a briefing status," he said.

For now students will once again have to wait - something they've been doing for more than a year now as building a new Home of the Islanders remains in limbo.  GovGuam has until January 25 to decide whether it plans to renew the contract for the interim JFK campus with CoreTech International. 

In the meantime, the Guam Education Policy Board has said it will not support double-sessions for JFK, nor will it be in favor of separating the students.

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