Welcome back to another school year. If you paid any attention to the news this year, you may have noticed the volley of blame over the cash shortfall caused by the Trump Tax Cuts. Since our tax codes mirror the federal tax code, all agencies on Guam expect a cut in their operating budgets, and GDOE is no different. The budgets put forth by the Guam Legislature and the Governor show no reprieve for GDOE’s cash shortfall. Until the Guam Legislature separates GDOE’s budget from the general fund, our students’ education is at the beckoning of politicians.

One main point resonated by Superintendent Jon Fernandez and Guam Education Board Chairman, Mark Mendiola, is that the students in the classroom are priority. Teachers, we are once again asked to spend our time, talents, and treasures to build and shape our future generation. Stay resilient. Our situation may not be ideal, but your hard work, involvement, and proactive resolve bring success to our children, every one of them. Let us keep the positive momentum going forward as we welcome the new school year by embracing the GDOE vision that every student is responsible, respectful and ready for life.

Now that we have a collective bargaining agreement (CBA; also referred to as a teachers’ contract), I ask that you share your stories of how the CBA benefited your work environment. For those that are familiar with the CBA or want to assist their coworkers, you might want to consider becoming a school site steward. A union’s strength is from its membership. Thank you to those who continue to serve as school site stewards.

New GFT & AFT benefits
Aside from your protection of a $1M Professional Liability Insurance, up to $35K in legal reimbursements, $25K accidental death & dismemberment insurance, and free advice and representation on your working conditions, don’t forget to check out other membership benefits such as:

• Free credit protection
• Free college opportunity
• Accountable reimbursement plan
• Life insurance/retirement income/supplemental medical income package
• Disability insurance
• Free notary services
• Benevolent fund assistance
• Local and National discounts for themed parks, hotels, rental cars, movies, restaurants and more!