Finally-- that seems to be the sentiment of public school teachers who welcomed the news of a 20% pay increase to their annual salaries, come May 23. 

KUAM News stopped by Simon A. Sanchez High School on Thursday get reaction from those teachers.

Acie Jo Cruz, an English 12 teacher said the news was hard to believe at first after seeing it on a WhatsApp chat group made up of fellow educators.

"So we've got very excited and we were all wondering is this for real? We didn't know if this was an election season thing or is this something that is really going to happen," she said. "I'm most excited to know that it is something that we waited for, it's something that we really deserve especially teaching through the pandemic time as a whole shift in things that we do and things that we had to accomplish and so just the timing of it all we really just a sigh of relief especially at the end of this school year."

The Guam Department of Education employs 3,497 people, according to their first quarter staffing pattern for Fiscal Year 2022. Of that number, 1,925 are educators. Currently, the average salary for an entry-level teaching position at GDOE is $32,469.

Filled with joy and a smile underneath her mask, freshmen World Geography teacher Monica Flis welcomes the pay bump but said she knows where the extra cash will likely go. 

"It's good. I did a little happy dance, we are very glad to be appreciated and to finally kind of maybe get a little bit closer to the pay of U.S. mainland teachers," she said. "I would probably be using it to buy supplies for the classroom, or support my students in certain ways, as an advisor to a club sometimes I use my own money to buy drinks when we're at a car wash it would still probably go to the school."

With gas prices soaring past $6, CHamoru Teacher Janice Toves was glad to see that more money will be flowing into her pocketbooks.

"I feel happy. It's about time. It's nice," she said. "The prices of things are going up so we need to be able to catch up with it."

Sinot Matao Pangelinan, a CHamoru teacher, mentioned this increase is very much needed.

"It's about time, as teachers we have a lot of expenses not just at the home but even when we do projects here at the school," he said. "We end up using a lot of our own money so that 20% is going to end up helping with other stuff as well not just home responsibility but we will be able to do so much more with the students. Any pay raise is welcomed in our field so it's well appreciated."

Meanwhile, principals will get a 15% increase while assistant principals will receive 10%.

GDOE Superintendent Jon Fernandez thanked all involved to make this effort happen. He said, “on behalf of our educators and administrators, I want to thank Gov. Leon Guerrero and Lt. Governor Tenorio for their efforts to help retain our employees and to recognize their contributions. Our teachers have been at the front lines to keep our mission of educating our kids going throughout the pandemic, and it took a lot of courage, adjustment, and persistence to get through the past two years. This pay increase will help keep our educators moving forward and help to retain school leaders so that we can continue our recovery in the years ahead.”

The increase is expected to cost GDOE an estimated  $30,412,586 annually. 

As KUAM News reported, all other public school employees are to be included in the next General Pay Plan or GPP Study.