Senators say Klitzkie's Bill 1 needs revision prior to further consideration

by Sabrina Salas Matanane, KUAM News
Thursday, May 19, 2005

Senator Bob Klitzkie (R), now in his second-term in the Guam Legislature, is the author of Bill 1, The Every Child Is Entitled to An Adequate Education Act. And today on Session Floor lawmakers began debate on the legislation, and it appears like the bill will be undergoing some revision.

Bill 1 has been around for two years, but today it was at the forefront of discussion. The legislation sets standards for what defines an adequate public education and also establishes a mechanism by which students can take legal action against the Government of Guam if it fails to fulfill the mandates set forth in the Act.

According to Senator Klitzkie, the proposed legislation forces the entire government to ensure that education is a priority and holds the government accountable. The policymaker explained, "If this bill becomes law there will be accountability because everyday 30,000 students, inspectors will go to school, will make sure they have textbooks, toilets flush; and those 30,000 inspectors will be buttressed by their parents, and for once if our school system if its not providing an adequate education, parents would have some recourse instead of saying, 'I guess there's nothing I can do', because now a parent really would be able to do something."

While lawmakers seemed to support the intent of the legislation, others senators said this same level of accountability needs to be extended to the Legislature. Introducing an amendment requiring an additional section, Senator B.J. Cruz (D) announced, "I don't think we can pass this legislation without having the Legislature's hands tied or told that we have to do, because we have to appropriate the money we can't tell the Board of Education they're going to be liable if we don't give them adequate amount of money."

Other amendments that were introduced on the floor included one by Senator Rory Respicio (D) that would dedicate a portion of the proceeds from the sale of GTA to go toward education.

Senator Lou Leon Guerrero (D) also introduced an amendment to a prior amendment that she had introduced on the floor earlier; the new amendment in summary would measure the quality of education being provided to students. That amendment, however, failed.

Bill 1 is the first in a series of controversial bills that are scheduled to be debated on the floor during the current legislative session.

KUAM's Clynt Ridgell contributed to this report

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