Sen. Morrison urges alternatives to closing schools

Feb.19.2018



By Haidee V Eugenio | Pacific Daily News

 

Sen. Tommy Morrison, R-Umatac, has asked the Guam Department of Education to consider alternatives to closing schools and wants to know whether the 2011 closure of F.Q. Sanchez Elementary School, in Umatac, resulted in cost savings.

 

Morrison also asked whether all of F.Q. Sanchez’s students were subsequently absorbed by Merizo Martyrs Memorial School.

 

Evergreen Solutions LLC recommended the Umatac school’s closure to save the education department $1.3 million. Evergreen Solutions had performed a management and curriculum audit of Guam DOE.

 

Morrison’s questions about the Umatac school’s closure comes following recent discussions about the option of closing even more schools with low enrollment, and to save money because of a budget shortfall of at least $19 million.

 

Education officials said school closures are a last resort, but are asking parents, teachers, students and others to provide input on how to best help Guam DOE deal with budget shortfalls.

 

Guam DOE had already been reviewing attendance areas, including a review of schools with low enrollment, long before the Trump tax cuts became law. The tax cuts will save taxpayers money, but cut deeply into local government revenue.

 

“While I understand the closure and/or consolidation of schools, particularly those located in the south, are only options currently on the table, I’m mindful of the negative social and economic consequences these options may bring if these plans aren’t carefully considered prior to implementation,” Morrison said in a Feb. 16 letter to Superintendent Jon Fernandez.

 

Morrison said he believes the closure of F.Q. Sanchez Elementary may have been the only recommendation by Evergreen Solutions to be fully implemented.

 

The senator said he also doesn’t believe that additional options, such as the transition to a charter school model, or transfer of administrative responsibilities to a qualified non-profit organization, were thoroughly evaluated.

 

“The closure of a campus, as in the case of F.Q. Sanchez Elementary School, doesn’t just affect GDOE’s finances; such a decision has the power to break the heart, soul, and history of a school family and community,” Morrison wrote.

 

News by Pacific Daily News.

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