HAGÅTÑA, Guam—Senator Nerissa Bretania Underwood, Ph.D. (D), met with a number of officials in Washington, D.C. on June 18 and 19, regarding important educational matters for the Guam Department of Education (GDOE). The central issue is the continuing use of a “third party fiduciary agent” and “high risk status” for the GDOE. The special conditions as a “high risk grantee” requires oversight by a private party acceptable to the US Department of Education (USDE) and costs Guam approximately $3 million a year in local funds.
On June 18, Underwood met with Guam Delegate Madeleine Bordallo to discuss this issue and continuing funding opportunities for GDOE as well as the Guam Community College and University of Guam. She met with Superintendent Jon Fernandez, representatives of Alvarez and Marsal (third party fiduciary agent) to discuss the transition plan for Guam to move from high-risk status. Underwood also met with Reading is Fundamental (RIF) officials to discuss assistance for Guam schools especially with literacy development over long vacation periods. This is an initiative she would like to pursue with GDOE and the entire Guam community to include agencies other than GDOE, non-profit organizations and faith-based entities.
On June 19, Underwood met with USDE official Phil Maestri, the USDE high-risk management team, Superintendent Fernandez and representatives of Alvarez and Marsal. Senator Underwood said the conversation was “candid and constructive.” She stressed the need for “benchmarks” to establish progress to move off of high-risk status while achieving high standards for both federal and local funds. “GDOE has made significant progress in recent years and we want to make sure that progress continues in a clear process with a pathway to sustainable accountability standards for all funds.”
Underwood made this trip at her own expense. For more information, contact the senator at 671-687-1370.