MINA'BENTE SINGKO NA LIHESLATURAN GUÅHAN
1999 (FIRST) Regular Session
Bill No. 89 (COR )
Introduced by: E.B. Calvo
AN ACT TO ESTABLISH A GUAM PARENTAL SCHOOL CHOICE PROGRAM.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE PEOPLE OF GUAM:
Section 1. Legislative Findings and Intent. Guam is in the midst of an economic downturn. The Asian economic crisis as well as U.S. Military downsizing on Guam are major factors that led to this recessionary environment. Guam now finds itself in a situation in which it must compete with other economies in the Pacific for tourists, investment and capital.
I Liheslaturan Guahan recognizes that Guamís most important economic asset is its people. It is further realized that the people of Guam must be fully prepared for the challenges of the competitive environment of a global economy.
A motivated and well educated workforce is the key ingredient to Guamís future prosperity. High quality education will not only ensure the formation of a superior workforce, but will also pave the way for a higher percentage of local business owners and entrepreneurs included in the islandís future economy. It imperative to Guamís future economic survival that our youth receive the best educational instruction possible.
The Guam public school system, as is the case with most public school districts in the United States, is bemired with a myriad of problems. Foremost being that while the tax dollar investment towards the cost of public school expenditure per pupil has continued to increase, American schools including the public schools on Guam have experienced greater student dropout rates as well as lower SAT and Achievement Test scores. On Guam, the military recognized that the current system can no longer be tolerated and in order to provide military dependent students with higher quality education, opened a Department of Defense School system for military dependent students.
I Liheslaturan Guahan recognizes that while the Department of Education has been the single largest of beneficiary of tax dollar investment over the years and that the dollar investment per pupil has been roughly equivalent to the national spending average, the quality of education has not shown any corresponding improvement. This is clearly evidenced by the Guam public schools consistent low ranking in student achievement and Sat test scores.
Currently, the Department of Education spends approximately $5,060.00 per student albeit doubtful that a large percentage of this amount actually gets down to the student. On the other hand, the private schools on Guam require an average of $3,582.00 per student with a higher percentage of those dollars reaching the students as opposed to the Guam public schools.
I Liheslaturan Guahan recognizes, as the U.S. Defense Department earlier, that Guamís youth deserve a higher quality of education and that their parents require a
additional education alternatives in order to achieve that end result.
I Liheslaturan Guahan recognizes that more parents would prefer to send their children to the school of their choice. However, for many of the parents on Guam, the ability to make that choice is restricted due to their income level. Therefore I Liheslaturan Guahan intends that all parents on Guam be given the ability to make a decision as to the best educational option for their children by allowing them the opportunity to send their children to the school of their choice.
Section 2. This Act shall be known as the "Guam Parental School Choice Empowerment Act of 1999."
Section 3. Student Eligibility to Participate:
(1) The pupil is a member of a family that has a total family income that does not exceed an amount equal to 1.75 times the poverty level income for that family as determined by the United States government.
Section 4. Private School Eligibility to Participate:
Section 5. The Director of the Department of Education Shall:
Section 6. Standards to be met by participating private schools:
Section 7. Additional Requirements
Section 8. There is created a pupil assignment council composed of one representative from each private school participating in the program under this Act. Annually, by June 30, the council shall make recommendations to the participating private schools to achieve, to the extent possible, a balanced representation of pupils participating in the program under this Act.
Section 9. The Territorial Auditor shall perform a financial performance evaluation audit on the program under this Act. The Territorial Auditor shall submit copies of the audit report to the Speaker of the Liheslaturan Guahan for distribution to the appropriate standing committees.
Section 10. In order to provide for sufficient time to prepare for the implementation, this Act shall become effective at the beginning of the school year 2001-2002.