by Krystal Paco
Guam - Emotional testimony today on legislation that extends the deadline for petitions to be submitted that would reopen F.Q. Sanchez Elementary School in Umatac as a charter school. Despite protests and emotional pleas by the school community to keep the campus open, it was shut down earlier this year by the Guam Education Board to help save the Department of Education money.
Some of those same voices who fought to keep the Umatac school open returned to the Guam Legislature, this time to fight against the passage of Bill 384. Resident Frank Acfalle said, "They don't appreciate this issue because you close the school; now you're turning around and you have the money to open the school. It just doesn't make sense!"
There were others, however, who testified in support of the legislation, including the late F.Q. Sanchez's grandson, Fred Gofigan and Joe Quinata with the Umatac Community Foundation. The organization conducted a survey of the community in the southern village, which Quintata said there was overwhelming support to establish a charter school in the community as well as an ocean and land conservation program.
"The foundation support the effort of this legislative body to provide opportunities for the community of Umatac, especially as it is aligned with the Foundation's mission to develop and establish a charter school," he said.
Bill 384 was introduced by Speaker Judi Won Pat.