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Charter school to decide on campus locale

by Nick Delgado

Guam - The fate of the island's first charter school remains up in the air. Officials are hoping to have the facility up and running this August, but it seems the charter school has yet to finalize its budget as well as decide on the location for the school.

About 150 student applications have been submitted so far for the Guahan Academy Charter School. But still no word on where the school will actually be. Principal Bernie Duenas said, "We are hearing a lot of parents haven't put in application system because they want to know where the final, they want a definite answer for the location and until that happens I just know that we do have a lot more students and parents who are interested in coming to our charter school."

Duenas says school officials will be meeting Thursday evening, and hope to provide a final location of the school site to the Charter School Council by Friday. But the concern over whether students will have enough time to transfer from their DOE school to the charter school remains, as officials still have a $2.7 million budget request that needs to be reviewed. "I know that the budget has to be submitted by the Council to the superintendent of education," she said.

The Fiscal Year 2012 request was submitted to the Charter School Council today. It includes $1.7 million for personnel, about $700,000 for operations and equipment, and another $300,000 for utilities. Duenas admitted to the Council that they are still finalizing their staffing pattern, saying, "We will follow the requirement of interviewing all teachers and all the names are tentative, we want to make sure we interview all teachers for all positions and all the staff."

Duenas says the charter school will host students from kindergarten through 7th grade, and will also have a 9th grade academy for the first school year. She says the school is working to get more funding that GovGuam cannot provide so that they can expand for students in pre-K through 10th grade the before the second year. She said, "We hope to work after we get our school going, we hope to get funding through grants, we are going to be making application s for grant money to help us for the programs we will be doing in the schools."

If all goes as planned, Duenas says the island's first charter school will also be seeking to obtain accreditation.

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