GDOE eliminates proposed student fees

ISSUES ADDRESSED: In this Post file photo, Notre Dame High School Royals' Faith Moylan scores the game-winning try in the championship game against GW in March. On May 19, the Guam Education Board voted to split from the Independent Interscholastic Athletic Association of Guam and form its own sports league, the Interscholastic Sports Association. On Tuesday, GDOE held a public forum to glean input from stakeholders.  

After a public forum at the Guam Department of Education headquarters in Tiyan, stakeholders voiced their concerns regarding GDOE’s decision to split from the Independent Interscholastic Athletic Association of Guam.

In May, via unanimous vote, the Guam Education Board ended its relationship with the IIAAG and formed its own sports league, the GDOE Interscholastic Sports Association.

Scheduled to begin in the third-quarter, ISA competition will start in January 2020.

With more questions than answers for Guam’s high school sports community, Tuesday’s input session fostered heated debate.

One major concern for student-athletes and their families ISA addressed was a $50 per athlete, per sport charge which it claimed has been eliminated.

This topic and more are discussed in this Q&A news release.

Question: Is the GDOE ISA charging individual student fees to participate?

A: No. There are no fees being charged to students. While there was a section requiring payment for affiliating students to participate, that requirement will be removed after further discussion and input from stakeholders.

Q: Is the GDOE ISA charging any fees to non-GDOE schools?

A: Normally, there is a fee for schools to participate in a league. However, the superintendent is waiving such fees for School Year 2019-2020, so no participation fees are required this year. Non-GDOE schools will be responsible for their share of operational fees -officials, medical personnel, portable toilets, and so forth - which is the current arrangement under IIAAG.

Q: Can athletes start practicing for third-quarter sports?

A: Yes. Because all GDOE high schools are paid members of IIAAG and have adopted the IIAAG constitution and bylaws, practices are allowed to continue. The new ISA constitution and bylaws will be fully ratified by Dec. 13, at which point ISA participants will operate under the newly adopted constitution and bylaws.

Q: Will GDOE have officials, medical personnel, and other associations necessary to run third-quarter sports?

A: Yes. GDOE procurement office has received proposals from associations and the process will be completed prior to the season. The superintendent met with procurement, business, and legal staff to ensure that the process is working smoothly.

Q. What is the timeline for GDOE ISA to have its constitution and bylaws completely ratified?

A: Final ratification by the board of control and the superintendent is expected by Dec. 13.

Q: Are students covered? Who is liable during these practices and tryouts?

A: All students who participate in any GDOE sanctioned activities are covered by the rules governing GDOE.

Q: When will the GDOE ISA constitution and bylaws take effect?

A: The GDOE ISA constitution and bylaws will take effect upon ratification, which is expected by Dec. 13.

Q: Did GDOE prohibit teams from entering proposed IIAAG tournaments?

A: As is the normal process, all invitations to enter tournaments should be sent to the superintendent for approval, and the schools are then able to accept the invitation. The superintendent has not refused to sanction any recent invitations to participate in tournaments, in fact, he has been a supporter of additional opportunities for teams to compete both on-island and off-island.

Q: What membership will schools have if they join individual leagues such as rugby?

A: Participant members in individual sports leagues will have representation for situations concerning those sports leagues.

Q: Will the superintendent have power to discipline members of the GDOE ISA?

A: This matter will be reviewed and addressed prior to the ratification of the constitution.

Q: How many representatives will non-GDOE school members have in the board of control?

A: Each school shall have one member represented in the board of control for those sports in which the school is respectively participating.

Q: Can GDOE financially support running an interscholastic sports league?

A: Yes. GDOE currently contributes financially to the IIAAG’s operations and has been successfully paying for interscholastic sports for all GDOE schools for the past two decades. The most recent purchase order amounted to $140,000 in funds for IIAAG services. This transition will just be a matter of now paying for services directly rather than the IIAAG.

Q: What are the major policy differences between the IIAAG and ISA constitution and bylaws?

A: At this point, due to the mid-year transition, the ISA constitution and bylaws largely mirror the IIAAG constitution and bylaws. However, during the summer, GDOE plans a more comprehensive review of its constitution and bylaws to identify and address policy issues.

Q: Will GDOE review recruitment policy?

A: Yes. GDOE will look at recruitment and address issues brought up at the public forum. It was agreed that recruitment policy should be refined.

Q: Is GDOE going to change the academic requirements?

A: No. GDOE is keeping everything status quo. Any suggestions or ideas must go through the approval process prior to being entered into the constitution.