DOE inches closer to issuing RFP - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

DOE inches closer to issuing RFP

by Michele Catahay

Guam - The Department of Education is one step closer to putting out a request for proposal to hire a third-party fiduciary agent. The Attorney General's Office is reviewing the document before obtaining the final approval from the U.S. Department of Education.

The AGO is tasked with going over the revised request for proposal for a third-party fiduciary agent.  Last week DOE officials held a conference call with their federal counterparts.  Deputy Superintendent of Finance and Administrative Services Taling Taitano said, "There were a few markups, some grammatical in nature. There were a couple of clarifications they did ask from us. But I anticipate that as soon as the AG is able to signoff on it, we can finalize the document and hopefully put it out."

Back in November, the Guam Legislature passed a bill that would require the AG's office to get involved with procurement projects totaling more than $500,000. Taitano says while the AG's Office has a lot on its plate because of the ARRA grant applications flowing in from all agencies, she's hoping the RFP will be addressed soon. Currently, the local budget is carrying about $4,000,000 in consolidated grant expenditures simply because DOE still doesn't have access to its consolidated grant funds.

"We do have a letter in to (Phil) Maestri," said Taitano.  "One of the things in the special conditions letter said that we would be able to draw down on the carry over amount and so we're trying to clarify that and hopefully access that money so we can reimburse the local funds."

Because the consolidated grant is tied up, if USDOE agrees with the interpretation of the special conditions, Taitano says carry over funds will be allowed to be drawn down allowing some pressure to be relieved to cover programs like Eskuelen Puengi.  "Right now, we're just really short in cash and it's very hard for us to continue the existing programs much less start off some new programs," she said.  "Our concern is making sure that the AG finds the time to look at this so that we can get it turned around quickly."

In the meantime DOE Superintendent Dr. Nerissa Bretania Underwood tells KUAM News that the AG's Office is aware of the sense of urgency on the matter. She says still has a goal of having third-party in place by next month.

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