The following is a news release from the Guam Department of Education:
Last week, the U.S. Department of Education officially approved the request of GDOE Superintendent Jon Fernandez to reallocate federal American Rescue Plan funding to cover the cost of the Educator Pay Plan (EEP) compensation increase until September 30. This would cover the pay increase that was approved for all individuals under the EPP from May 23, 2022, until the start of the new fiscal year. From October 1, 2022, the increase is expected to be paid from local funds. The total cost is estimated to be just over $10 million for this period of time.
In addition, Fernandez had requested a one-time retention payment to support all other employees not covered by the previously approved EPP pay increases as well as the Nurses Pay Plan increases. These would include, for instance, school aides, office clerks, secretaries, and other staff who have helped sustain department activities through and after the pandemic. All eligible employees would receive a $5,000 one-time payment in recognition of their service during the pandemic and their continued dedication and service to our school children going forward.
“I’m thankful for USEd’s approval of my request to help cover the short-term cost of the educator pay raise,” said Fernandez. “Just as important, I’m glad that other frontline employees are able to receive this one-time payment for their continued service and dedication. It is important that GDOE do what it can to retain our hardworking employees and ensure that we are able to operate our schools safely and effectively for the coming school year.”
Mark Mendiola, GEB Chairman, welcomed the news. “Our employees have worked hard to support our students and families during the pandemic and during our recovery. We owe it to them to acknowledge their hard work and sacrifice, and we want them to remain with us so that we can continue to provide the services that our students deserve.”
“I’m glad that this approval was received and that the needs of all of our employees will be addressed,” said GEB member Maria Gutierrez, who had asked Fernandez whether federal funds could be approved to support GDOE staff. “GDOE employees work as one team, and it is only fair that we recognize and support all of our employees who have worked so hard and endured so much over the past couple of years.”
“I’m very pleased that federal funds are able to help cover the teacher pay increase over the summer and especially that our support staff is able to receive this one-time payment,” said GEB member Peter Ada. “This effort by the department will ensure that we retain our employees, and I know it will also help them and their families to address the rising cost of living that we see in our community. We need to support all of our GDOE employees.”
The one-time payment will go to over 1,700 GDOE staff and will be issued before the end of this week; the total cost is estimated to be $8.5 million. Fernandez’s last day as Superintendent will be this Friday, July 15th.