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EMOTIONS flared during last night’s stakeholder meeting to discuss the controversial 4 block schedule.
Stakeholders from Simon Sanchez High School, John F. Kennedy High School, and Okkodo High School took to the podium to raise their concerns and ask present members of the Guam Education Board what their positions are on the issue.
The issues raised during the meeting echoed the same set of concerns previously discussed in the other stakeholder meetings held at GWHS and JFK. But this time, the discussions became more heated and reached a tipping point when some of the teachers openly expressed their dissatisfaction and even demanded the board members present to state their individual positions regarding the schedule.
Angel Calugay, one of the teachers from Okkodo who addressed the board, said “the board should be guided by the basic principles of democracy.” Calugay also stated: “If the board only consulted the teachers, they wouldn’t have to be at the meeting.”
Another teacher, Ken Orland, talked about structural issues, the school environment and the impact of the 4 block schedule.
Franklin Perez, from JFK, hopes the meeting wouldn’t be an “exercise in futility.”
After the stakeholders presented their testimonies regarding the bell schedule, SSHS teacher Andri Baynum asked the board, on behalf of the others, to state their individual positions on the schedule.
GEB Chairman Francis Santos said he took offense to what Perez said earlier about the board.
“Obviously, there is a problem and that is why I made a decision to come out. I chose to come out but I can’t speak on behalf of the rest of the board,” Santos stated.
Santos challenged the teachers to come to the Legislature to voice their concerns. He said the board is not being heard as well.
“Please read the board minutes. You will find that I voted against the schedule,” said Dr. Jose Cruz, a member of the education board.
He clarified that he voted against the schedule because it clearly lacked the supporting data he was looking for.
Joe San Agustin, another board member, said he has been pushing for a motion to suspend the implementation of the schedule.
Baynum also explained the position of the stakeholders from his school. “We want them to rescind the schedule. I am very proud that the three board members showed up but also disappointed that several of the appointed board members did not show up in the meeting. Out of nine board members, only three showed up.”
He said this is very telling of how the board is going to continue to operate.
“The teachers were also upset because the board spent a lot of time negotiating a contract for one individual (incoming GDOE Superintendent Jon Fernandez) while the teacher contract has not been negotiated at all,” Baynum stated.