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Calvo, Tenorio visit southern schools

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by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - First it was Sagan Linayan, today Governor Eddie Calvo and Ray Tenorio began their tours of the island's public schools. "We always say we put kids first, let's truly put them first," Calvo said.

And today both men took steps toward making that happen, touring Harry S. Truman Elementary School and Southern High School in Santa Rita. SHS principal James Petite wasn't short of words to describe the problems at the Home of the Dolphins, some that have existed for years, like the school's auditorium ravished by termites, a gym shutdown because of mold and mildew and a swimming pool deemed structurally unsafe.

"Some of these young people are going to go away from this magnificent high school never being able to use those facilities and to me that's a travesty," he said.

But hoping to turning this travesty into triumph the governor and lieutenant governor were joined by a team of directors and upper management staff including DISID director Ben Servino looking to ADA compliance issues, Leo Casil the deputy director of Public Health, BBMR director and acting director of the Department of Administration Benita Manglona, Mental Health director Wilfred Aflague, Chief of Police Fred Bordallo, Governor's chief education advisor Vince Leon Guerrero and director of communications Troy Torres.

"It's just a matter of this administration and our agencies reaching out sitting down and talking about these issues with the principal with the consumer, and see what we can do holistically improving the quality of education for our kids," Calvo continued.

It's been anything but quality though for students at Southern High not only dealing without what were supposed to be state of the art facilities. But also sweltering temperatures in classrooms and other key facilities such as the library because of chronic broken air conditioners. Petite said, "Air conditioners here go out frequently. I don't know if it's appropriate for the building, but anyone given day a section here could go out another section could go out. Repetitively one day we had a single unit go out two times.

Calvo said, "We'd like to work with you on whether its an issue of the electrical system or also if there's been warranty of a company we want to make sure we can work those issues out with you as well. Petite noted, "The issue of mold here because its so humid," with Calvo adding, "When was the last time the system was down here," and Petite replying, "Couple months ago and then half of it was working and that just not conducive either. It's got to be all or nothing." Tenorio added, "If you got a contract, hold them accountable."

Whether it's holding contractors accountable, Governor Calvo said its clear DOE needs more support from the rest of the government in order to get the island's schools moving in a new direction. "We can make a lot more improvements. There are certain things that we needs more cooperation and dialogue and there are other things that may be a little more difficult that have some financial identification how do we get those resources so those are the things we need to work with our legislature as well," he said.

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