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JFK deal needs to get done

by Mindy Aguon

Guam - With a looming deadline to decide whether it will continue to lease a facility in Tiyan, the Department of Education is really hoping it can iron out a deal with CoreTech International to have that campus for nearly a decade.

John F. Kennedy High School students will likely spend another year utilizing the interim campus in Tiyan.  But instead of opting for a single-year lease, DOE Superintendent Dr. Nerissa Bretania Underwood says the department and the Guam Education Policy Board are looking at a multi-year lease that will cost nearly $5 million for 9 years.  "There were two options they had given us. One option would be they would address all 22 items that the school administration and teacher want them to address for next school year," she said.

Those improvements would cost nearly $2 million, but Underwood says they could be paid in the second year.  With the new JFK High School contract tied up in the legal system, the superintendent says islanders will have to call Tiyan home for at least another year until the dispute is resolved and a new campus is built.  She says double-session just isn't feasible.

"Right now GW has more than 2,700 students.  JFK has more than 2,300 students both populations really, really too large for any high school.  So we were hoping to use the interim JFK after the JFK students leave to alleviate the overcrowding in the high schools," said Underwood.

DOE had intended to build a new high school in the north to ease overcrowding experienced at all four of the island's high schools, but Underwood says the land that was identified may be used by the military, so the department must have another option for students.  She said, "The next challenge is for us to communicate that with the Legislature what we're also trying to do right now is to clarify with the AG whether we have to put this out on bid again because the specs have changed."

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