Fernandez wants Tiyan for Central High School - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Fernandez wants Tiyan for Central High School

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by Krystal Paco

Guam - With another school year in the books and School Year 2013-2014 quickly approaching, it's DOE superintendent Jon Fernandez's hopes to alleviate overcrowding at George Washington High School once and for all.

For over a decade, the Home of the Geckos have been plagued with overcrowding and this school year will be no different.

Come the start of classes August 19th, DOE superintendent Jon Fernandez says they anticipate a student population of 2,700 - when the reality is, the Mangilao campus was only built for 2,100.

"I've been in active discussion with Henry Taitano, the administrator for GEDA on the possibility of having a central high school as well as our administrative offices up at Tiyan," he said.

He's referring to the Coretech facility in tiyan.

As we've been reporting, GovGuam's existing lease gives the option to purchase the Tiyan site, which currently serves as an interim campus for the Untalan Middle School Wildcats.  Earlier this year, the Governor's Office requested doe's plans for the facility, as public law gives them first dibs.

"Right now GW opens at 2,700 students every year and the capacity over at the Central High School is about 1,900. I think that just running the numbers on a back of an envelope we could probably run two schools at about 1,500 each at the Central High School and also at GW," he said.

The end result? Less focus on packed classrooms and more attention on doe's true mission - to educate students. "That would give you some room for growth in case you do see an increased population, but at 1,500 that's really a manageable population. We could turn our attention away from the crowding issues, the population issues, and the discipline issues and focus more on the instructional needs and outcomes for our students," he said.

The facility could also house DOE Central Office as well as other administrative offices.

"I think the long-term vision is really to determine how to consolidate the rest of our administrative functions over there. For instance we have a special education department at Chief Brodie Elementary School that would allow us - if we could consolidate - to free up some space and look at the future of Chief Brodie for instance," he said.

Although he's expressed his vision informally, Governor Eddie Calvo's education advisor Vince Leon Guerrero says Adelup has yet to receive anything in writing.

"The important part of the plan in writing is are they going to be talking about shifting attendance areas, are they going to be talking about consolidating some schools we don't know. There's a lot of options on the table DOE has to engage its stakeholders and I'm sure that's a process that DOE superintendent JON FERNANDEZ is undertaking at this point," he said.

Meanwhile, GEDA administrator Henry Taitano says GEDA is assessing DOE's needs to make Fernandez's vision a reality. According to the 2011 lease agreement,  if GovGuam executes its optiom to purchase, it would cost GovGuam $5 million anunally for 25 years. Currently GovGuam is paying close to $4.5 million annually which is set to escalate every five years at 10% with the next escalation set for October 2014. Taitano emphasizes that GovGuam must decide before the end of this year what to do with the facility in order to avoid such costs. 

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