Senators Yamashita, Guthertz support move - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Senators Yamashita, Guthertz support move

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by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - Although ultimately it's up to the Guam Education Board, local leaders are reacting favorably to the governor's plans to have Untalan Middle School temporarily relocate to Tiyan. With facilities deteriorating daily, lawmakers and former educators like Senators Aline Yamashita and Judi Guthertz say Governor Eddie Calvo's decision to relocate UMS to Tiyan is a move in the right direction.

Yamashita said, "For me at this point, because we have not done a good job in preventive maintenance, we have not done a good job in keeping our facilities safe for our students, this is the right thing to do, with Guthertz adding, "So this is an important move. It's an important move for the Department of Education, I hope the school board will act quickly on this matter and recognize that when you have a governor supporting you in this fashion, he will help them to be able to deal with the issues of resources to make this possible."

On Tuesday Governor Calvo made the announcement about the relocation to UMS faculty and staff at the Barrigada campus, but ultimately it's up to the board to act. "I would implore them that they should move expeditiously, there's not only Untalan Middle School, but there are other schools that are in a very dire and decrepit condition and we have in what I believe a quality facility at Core Tech Tiyan facility and we have made it available for them," said the governor.

Utilizing Core Tech's facility has been on the Guam Education Board's radar since JFK's students and faculty moved out over the summer and into their new campus in Upper Tumon. As a matter of fact, this April of this year, GEB chairperson Francis Santos wrote Governor Calvo, requesting that the school be used as a temporary high school once JFK left in July. The problem, DOE didn't have the money to use the facilities, Santos also wrote that it was important to immediately start planning to build at least a high school middle school and an elementary school to alleviate the overcrowding in schools located in the northern and central villages "to further delay this effort will be of disservice to our students".

According to the Governor Calvo, who has seen firsthand the poor condition of the island's schools, he's been waiting for doe and the board to present some formal plan to address the problems. He said, "But I could not wait, it's been 11 months, 12 months from the day that I visited the many different schools on Guam when I came into office, to my discussions with stakeholders that's parents, teachers, principals and students, we know there's a need for these facility."

A decision on just how much longer students and parents will have to wait could be made as early as next Thursday when the board is scheduled to meet at C.L.    Taitano Elementary School. Untalan faculty and staff meanwhile were notified today that another scheduled tour of Tiyan was set for tomorrow afternoon to possibly look where to place its nearly 72 Untalan classrooms.

UMS did propose closing the school on January 20 and begin classes at Tiyan by the 30th.  The Administration notes that any proposed plan needs to be approved by the GEB board. 

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