Repairs, double sessions, and new campus all options for FBLG Middle School

From general repairs to double sessions to a brand new F.B. Leon Guerrero Middle School. These are the options and contingency plans on the table for the Yigo school, according to education board chairman Mark Mendiola, following pictures and video showing dangerous and deteriorating conditions on campus.

Puddles of a dirt-colored-fluid can be seen in one classroom, and according to students, more fluid rises to the surface as they step on the tiles.  In another photo of the same classroom, closet doors are rotting. In another classroom, buckets litter the floors to catch multiple ceiling leaks. Multiple fiber-glass ceiling tiles are either missing or soaked, with light fixtures nearby. A video of another classroom shows water raining from the ceiling into a bucket. Other photos in other classrooms show a large rat in a trap, another rat in a classroom, and a dead rat in a crevice that, according to students, smelled so strong of decay and rat feces, they had to be evacuated.

According to eye witnesses on the campus, at least two students slipped on the floors, one of whom fell on her face and had to be attended to for her injuries.

“I was not made aware of that,” Mr. Mendiola said to Kandit in a nearly-half hour phone interview on the situation facing FBLG Middle School. The campus is adjacent to Simon Sanchez High School, which for nearly a decade has waited for action by the government of Guam for its rebuilding. FBLG Middle is nearly as old as its high school neighbor.

“It raises the question,” Mr. Mendiola said regarding the prioritization of the school, “especially when students get hurt. We gotta get action here sooner than later. In the next couple of days we’re pushing for some kind of answer or review of what we will be doing with FB Leon Guerrero.”

The Guam Department of Education, according to its chairman, has moved FBLG Middle into the urgent category of attention following the public disclosures of the problems there. He said board member Maria Gutierrez, who leads the board’s Health and Safety Committee, visited the school prior to its opening this school year, and raised several red flags with GDOE administration officials.

“This is a great concern for a lot of our board members, and of course the (school) administration and the acting superintendent,” Mr. Mendiola said. “I do know they did some assessments. They’ll continue to do that. I know F.B. Leon Guerrero is one of the schools being prioritized for major repairs. But I think because of the recent earthquake, it raised a lot of challenges the school has. The acting superintendent has reached out to do the assessment with an engineer just to make sure the school is structurally sound. I have not heard back from him on that, but I do know it’s one of his top priorities at this point.”

Mr. Mendiola pointed to a pool of about $80 million in federal pandemic funds secured by Congressman Michael San Nicolas specifically earmarked for school repairs.

Asked whether there is a commitment to rebuild FBLG Middle if the necessity arises, Mr. Mendiola said, “I think that’s something that needs to be discussed further with the school community. Shifting and adjusting temporary structures, double session, these are all on the table. We need first to do a structural assessment.”

The board chairman said FBLG Middle is not the only public school, where there are concerns and red flags. He pointed to Agueda Johnston Middle School in Ordot as another example of a campus with major facilities issues. “We’ve known for years the problems plaguing George Washington (High School), and many of the schools in the south,” he said.

He encourages students, parents, and staff, to take pictures and videos and share their concerns with their campuses with their school principals.

“If you’re not getting traction there, then take it to the next step and contact the deputy superintendent, Erika Cruz,” he advises school communities.

Ms. Cruz may be reached at [email protected] Watch the full interview with Mr. Mendiola here.


  • Frank Perez

      09/10/2022 at 10:12 AM

    How long has this member of the board even took the time prior to his imminent departure from the board to address long recognized issues within GDOE! Perhaps taking a lesson from former and soon to return Governor Felix Camacho’s attention by building new schools without excuses!

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