POOR MAINTENANCE FORCES GUAM HIGH SCHOOL CLOSURE

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Citations issued for restroom, trash, air-conditioning

By Therese Hart HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Marianas Variety, June 8, 2011) – Simon Sanchez High School in Yigo, Guam which was supposed to open its doors yesterday for summer school, was shut down by the Department of Public Health and Social Services division of environmental health. The school was closed for previous citations that were not fixed as of yesterday such as the lack of toilet paper in the restrooms, the absence of soap in soap dispersers, trash on the campus, cracked tiles, air conditioning units not working properly and a host of other violations.

But Guam Department of Education (GDOE) Superintendent Dr. Nerissa Underwood said yesterday she felt the "violations" were unreasonable.

She said GDOE is already going through the process of getting the school’s fixtures upgraded using the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds, so some repeat violations are expected.

Underwood further said GDOE continues to experience financial shortfalls and although she is aware that chipped desks and other fixtures that need repair need to be replaced, "we can hardly pay for our payroll vendors, so it’s going to be a repeat violation."

The high school’s maintenance is being outsourced by JJ Global, which is responsible for ensuring that the soap dispensers are filled, that there is toilet paper in the restrooms and that the grounds are free from rubbish and trash, said GDOE deputy superintendent of finance Taling Taitano.

She added that JJ Global was already working on the violations yesterday. JJ Global cleans two other schools including Sanchez. Its contract with GDOE costs $13,900 a year.

A Sanchez teacher who did not wish to be identified had a negative comment regarding the outsourced maintenance group: "JJ janitorial is our contracted maintenance. They totally suck! You have to yell for them to get stuff."

The teacher added that workers change on a weekly basis so there is no continuity and workers are not familiar with the work they need to do at the school.

According to the school building inspection report, a fifth follow-up inspection was conducted in response to initial inspection conducted on March 8 but violations are still pending.

The other violations included cracked tiles, baseboards in disrepair, leaking ceilings, and chairs and desks in disrepair.

Summer school will resume today but will be held at F.B. Leon Guerrero Middle School instead Guam Education Board member from the northern district Joe San Agustin said ARRA funds should now be used to fix the school while there are no students in class during the summer.

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