Student Attendance Review Committee chair John Blanco is hoping that the CNMI State Board of Education would hire or appoint full-time staff that would act as the group’s point person since all of the members are volunteers.
Going out and finding ways on how to get students who are having a hard time going to school to attend their classes is SARC’s primary task. Their members are all volunteers. Public Law 16-47, or the Juvenile Justice Act, created the committee but it is placed under the BOE.
Blanco has submitted SARC’s report to the BOE where he is hoping officials would consider their suggestion of appointing more members since they are short in manpower.
“We are an organization made up of volunteers and we have a lot on our plate. We don’t have a person that would set up the meetings and would make the calls reminding us to attend,” said Blanco, who is also Mt. Carmel School’s athletic director.
SARC, in their report, has recommended to the BOE to appoint more members coming from the Attorney General’s Office, the Department of Justice, and Public School System counselors to help them with the task.
“As we all know, with volunteers, there going to be those individuals that are not going to be able to make it to every meeting. That’s fine, but we have a huge task. We have a lot of work out there and I believe that we’re falling short on the things that we need to do,” said Blanco.
He added that failing to do their task would mean more students would continue to fall behind or fail with their classes. “And we don’t want that to happen.”
BOE member Marylou S. Ada suggested to Blanco that SARC should collaborate with the Community Guidance Center and see what assistance they could give.
“That is one thing that we probably need, as well as having a dedicated member within the Public School System to help us out with that. Since [SARC] is a volunteer organization, most of us when we’re done with the meeting, we’re really done and we’re going to do our regular things,” said Blanco.
“We do need to reach out to these organizations [like the CGC]. But we’re still young and we just started in January 2014. There are a lot of things that need to be addressed that’s why we also need the help from others so we could make things successful,” he added.
BOE chair Herman T. Guerrero said they are working with Education Commissioner Dr. Rita A. Sablan to see how they could add more members to the committee headed by Blanco. “I know SARC has requested they need a full-time staff and we’re working with the commissioner on that.”
“In terms of adding more members to SARC, I want to make sure the committee would work because it would involve other government officials from other agencies to be members of this committee,” said Guerrero, who added that SARC has been meeting regularly.
“[SARC] is relatively new and we have to make sure there’s no impediment in appointing additional members to cover areas and other concerns of the committee. We’re going to study the report and look into it and we’ll get back to you,” Guerrero told Blanco.