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NEWS: School employees furloughed for one year; future of NMI schools uncertain

By Eric Rosario

(Tamuning, Guam) The Commonwealth's Public School System today gave only two days notice to locally-funded teachers and other school staff that effective Wednesday, April 15, they will be furloughed without pay for the next 12 months.

While PSS encourages its furloughed employees to seek unemployment aid from the federal government when it becomes available, it is unclear when or how students will return to classrooms to continue their education if such a large number of teachers no longer are working.

"If you find alternative employment during this period and do not intend to return to work as PSS, please notify the human resources office immediately of your voluntary resignation," PSS Human Resources Director Lucretia C. Borja writes in the notice of furlough dated today.

IMPORTANT: Do not resign. Please inquire what your rights are with the U.S. Department of Labor. You may lose your unemployment benefits if you resign from PSS.

The notice was concurred by Dr. Alfred Ada, Commissioner of Education, and has an acknowledgment signature block for the employee given the notice of furlough.

PSS has been hardest hit by the Torres administration to atone for the sins of fiscal mismanagement by Gov. Ralph Torres. Mr. Torres's fiscal austerity measures, even prior to the Coronavirus emergency have disproportionately affected teachers and school staff.

Earlier this month, Mr. Torres blamed teachers and school staff for his decisions to withhold legally-required payments to retirees, even though a fiscal realignment plan prepared for and by his office clearly indicates the Commonwealth's financial crisis occurred over the past three years of audited financials.

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