Implementing Hay Study will cost millions - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Implementing Hay Study will cost millions

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by Mindy Aguon

Guam - The Department of Education says the implementation of the hay study will increase personnel costs by the millions. DOE Finance Deputy Superintendent Taling Taitano says the wage assessment will drive the amount needed to cover personnel, saying they're talking about over $8,000,000.

"We submitted testimony to the Legislature last week related to the bill that they're considering. We have over 500 employees that are considered unclassified and they include teachers and school aides. We're hoping that legislation will be passed to allow for the hay to happy to them also," she said.

Taitano says they need to look at other aspects. The current budget law doesn't allow for DOE to use local funds to supplement federal programs. "We're looking at all our federal grants now to determine if we're able to absorb the hay increase and continue the services as planned. There are a few grants that have a large amount of personnel costs that we're concerned that the impact will require that we reduce the services to the students," Taitano continued.

Take, for example, the Headstart Program. According to Taitano, while DOE can use some funds to cover the increase in personnel costs, the problem is that those funds were used to absorb the increase related to health insurance.  "If we're not able to absorb it in our federal grants, we're going to ask the Legislature to consider removing the prohibition that they have in the current budget law that prohibits DOE from using local monies for federal grants," she said.

While the current law will allow the Department of Administration to use some of the monies set aside for the hay increase to help pay federal employees, DOE has a restriction in the budget law that does not allow that to happen. She says what they want to avoid is for the Headstart Program to be forced to cut programs, noting, "We believe we have exhausted the available grant money, so if we're not able to get relief one of the ways we might have to absorb the impact would be to reduce the number of personnel and if we do that, we might have to reduce the number of Headstart classes that we have."

In the meantime, while the hay study will give more money to employees, Taitano says it'll be difficult for DOE to absorb these costs.  "Certainly I believe that our employees to be paid the market rates, but it does make it harder for us to stretch the money that is currently available."

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