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DOE key on securing funding

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by Michele Catahay

Guam - Like the rest of the government, finances are tight at the Department of Education, but the agency is holding on to hope they'll get some additional funding not just to keep things running now, but also to ensure schools are ready to open come this fall.

DOE's request for a $41 million supplemental budget doesn't look good, simply because there's just not enough money to go around, Committee Chair on Education Speaker Judi Won Pat.  "When that supplemental bill came in it was actually referred to Senator [Ben] Pangelinan's committee because he has oversight of appropriations. The only thing so far I know that we received from BBMR and DOA and even the director from Rev & Tax is that the money has not been coming in from the first quarter and I know in the second quarter they are anticipating more monies, but until such time that we are able to collect all those monies, right now every single penny and dollar that we were anticipating has been appropriated out," she said.

The Guam Education Policy Board approved the supplemental budget request last month, but because of the lack of money it hasn't been able to gain traction in the Legislature.  According to DOE Deputy Superintendent of Finance Taling Taitano the additional funding is sorely needed in terms of preparing for next school year.

She said, "We'll be needing to monitor the accounts because we'll need to have certain contracts in place like our contract for cafeteria services, our contracts for custodial services that'll be needed at the schools so we can open schools on time. So those accounts we're monitoring closely to see where we're at."

And currently DOE isn't in such a great place, as Taitano confirms the agency is being shortchanged on their allotments, leading the agency to fall even further behind in vendor payments.

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