Pacific Daily News

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Jan. 4, 2012) – In Guam, the administration of Gov. Eddie Calvo is considering moving students from Untalan Middle School to a Tiyan campus owned by CoreTech International and once used as a temporary site for John F. Kennedy High School because of the middle school's poor condition.

Untalan Middle is a classic example of the government of Guam's inability to properly maintain its schools and other property. Moving students to a temporary campus while repairs are made at Untalan Middle is a temporary solution at best.

What's truly needed is for elected officials to ensure that the Guam Department of Education has the resources needed to properly maintain schools, and a commitment by the agency and the Guam Education Board to ensure maintenance is performed regularly.

Untalan Middle has a host of problems -- rotting and moldy wood shelter walkways; drainage issues that leave huge, deep puddles on the campus in rainy weather; air conditioning that works sporadically, if at all; leaking ceilings; non-working fire alarms; and more. None of these are new. Most have been persistent problems that haven't been addressed with permanent fixes.

And the middle school isn't the only campus with chronic problems that have been ignored. JFK High was closed and had to be torn down and a new school built because of persistent safety issues. In recent years, both Southern High and Simon Sanchez High were shut down for safety and health violations. Almost every public school, especially the older ones, have chronic issues that aren't permanently fixed.

This consistent failure to make repairs and perform regular and routine maintenance must be addressed. It's ridiculous to continually wait until things reach a crisis or near-crisis level. Public school officials and elected public servants must work together on a plan of action to correct this glaring shortfall.

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