By Chris Duenas
Three and a half years ago, our island and our people received BILLIONS of dollars in federal funding. I want to thank former Congressman, Michael F.Q. San Nicolas, for working hard in Congress to get our island included in many of the programs we still have today. I recently sent out a press release announcing two companion bills that I have introduced in the 37th Guam Legislature. Bill No. 32-37 addresses the twenty two percent (22%) pay raises that were given in fiscal year 2022 from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) monies meant for critical upgrades to our children’s schools. This bill appropriates 30 million to the Guam Department of Education (GDOE) as a reimbursement for using ARP funds for pay raises and other operations.
On January 31, 2023, the twenty-two percent (22%) pay increase across the entire executive branch was announced. I introduced Bill No. 31-37 (COR) will reestablish the Legislature’s role in the budget process and no salary adjustment can be paid out unless included in the annual budget. So despite what some may say, let me be clear when it comes to pay raises for public officials: I understand the need to do it from time to time, but let’s do it right!
Let’s do it through the general fund and let’s use the ARP monies for what it was meant for – FIX OUR SCHOOLS FOR OUR CHILDREN AND THEIR FUTURE!
In a February 9 news piece, a public official stated that politics won’t repair schools or keep good teachers in our classrooms.
Well, I ask this same public official: what good is a pay raise if our schools close down for being inadequate to stay in operations?
Chris Duenas is a member of the Thirty-seventh Guam Legislature