5 Aug 2003

Guam school services threatened by major budget cut

4:30 pm on 5 August 2003

The superintendent of the Department of Education in Guam says the schools may not be able to guarantee the health and safety of students because of a 6-million US dollar budget cut.

The government has indicated it will not be able to pay its entire 138 million dollar appropriation.

Superintendent Nerissa Bretania-Shafer says the department now has a projected shortfall of 27-million dollars for the fiscal year which ends in two months.

She says the budget announcement will hamper moves to address the appalling learning conditions that exist on the island.

"The six-million dollar decrease in our appropriation will indeed create a major challenge to the extent that we can provide a safe and healthy school environment, as well as in providing adequate personnel to supervise the students"

Superintendent Bretania-Shafer says if the government moves to secure hundreds of millions of dollars off the bond market fail then the department will have to stop operations .

The start of the school year has already been pushed back three weeks to the 18th of August.