GEB approves $298.8M budget request for FY2015
by Krystal Paco
Guam - The island's largest agency is ready to put its Fiscal Year 2015 budget request before lawmakers.
$298.8 million - that's the amount the Guam Education Board approved at their special meeting held last night as their total request for the department of education Fiscal Year 2015 budget.
Although it's $75.9 million more than what was appropriated for this fiscal year, the GEB breaks down their budget into three priority areas.
First up, DOE estimates it will need $250.2 million to staff and operate 41 public schools. This includes the central high anticipated to open doors in august at the CoreTech buildings in Tiyan. In this priority area, $8.3 million is budgeted to implement the Hay study recommendations as well as meritorious pay and annual personal leave payout to better compensate employees.
Also included in this priority area is $18.7 million needed to keep up with the anticipated hikes in utility costs for these schools.
Second on their list of priorities - more support for school and classroom resources at a total $16.65 million.
This budgeted amount includes replacing collateral equipment, purchasing additional textbooks, providing instructional supplies for every teacher, and supporting technology in classrooms from providing technology infrastructure to more equipment.
Rounding out DOE's top priorities is to upgrade schools to provide healthy and safe environments at $31.9 million.
This includes a five-year plan to address an identified $90 million in deferred maintenance costs at schools islandwide. For every year, $18 million is budgeted to address maintenance concerns raised by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, including temporary classrooms and deteriorated or non-existing walkway canopies.
Also in this priority area, funds to upgrade sports facilities, including school gyms as well as $600,000 to support more manpower to upkeep school facilities for electrical, plumbing, and welding repairs.
We should note, some of these figures are subject to change with pending legislation that identifies other funding sources for school repairs and renovations.