Protest held at Adelup over Umatac school - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Protest held at Adelup over Umatac school

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by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - Umatac residents have long said they won't give up without a fight, and today marked Round 1 at Adelup to save the school from shutting down. "It is merely a decision made by a less than a handful of individuals," said Umatac mayor Dean Sanchez.

The recent shutdown of F.Q. Sanchez Elementary School in the southern village prompted today's protest in front of the Governor's Complex. More than 150 people, children included, held their picket signs urging island leaders to reverse the board's decision and support Bill 257, authored by Senator Dennis Rodriguez, Jr. "The senators, you better open your hearts and think about it because you really - it's a sad situation," painfully said Umatac resident Lorraine Aguon.

"I watch that school built, I'm 70 years old and pretty soon you keep making me talk here I'm going to cry sometimes I cant go to sleep at night it just hurts so bad," she said. 

According to the picket signs, they're urging the Legislature to support Senator Rodriguez's bill, which would provide $157,000 to stop the campus from closing. According to the Guam Education Board, they'll have to find more than $157,000 because the school's budget, which started at $864,000 was later reduced to $424,000 by eliminating a school counselor nurse and librarian. That doesn't seem to matter though for the Umatac community.

Mayor Sanchez said, "It is us that matters not the decision, not money. It's people that matter in this case!"

The Umatac community and others residents that participated in the protest are hoping lawmakers and the governor will undo the board's action. "I know that the governor has always said that he wants to do everything in his power to keep this school open," noted former senator Telo Taitague, who is the governor's liaison to the Legislature. She says the governor respects the autonomy of the Guam Education Board and doesn't have the legal authority to overturn their decision. She was there to merely listen

"We're here to tell the people of Umatac that we understand their concerns and hear what they have to say and resonate that back to the Administration," Taitague said.

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