USDOE grants second stimulus extension - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

USDOE grants second stimulus extension

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by Krystal Paco

Guam - It's good news for the Department of Education as USDOE approved a deadline extension to obligate $60 million in ARRA funds, but DOE will have to submit some progress reports. The previous deadline to obligate the ARRA funds was set for September 30, 2012. This is the second time Governor Eddie Calvo has had to step in and request an extension on behalf of the Department of Education.

"And I'm hoping this is the last time and the Guam Department of Education won't come to me again asking for a third request because this is very difficult. This is taking the credibility of my office and this government," said the governor.  The U.S. Department of Education is giving DOE one last chance to spend the $60 million in federal stimulus money that will go to desperately-needed capital improvement projects at our island's schools.

The new deadline is set for September 30, 2013 and comes with conditions:

  • By October 15, 2012, Guam must provide USDOE with the amount of funds obligated as of September 30
  • On the 15th of each succeeding month, Guam will provide USDOE with a report on the progress in obligating funds and completing the relevant projects
  • Guam will not oppose any steps by USDOE to recover trust account funds not obligated by September 30, 2013
  • Guam will not oppose any steps by USDOE to rescind approval of the extension to recover funds Guam fails to provide the required reports by the dates noted, or does not make adequate progress in completing the capital improvement and technology projects

"I'm thankful to the U.S. Department of Education that we got this extension, but that doesn't mean we slow down. Now we speed up this process and get that money spent," Calvo said.

The Department of Education meanwhile isn't the only one under scrutiny, as Calvo's education advisor Vince Leon Guerrero is critical of Speaker Judi Won Pat, who was successful in including a rider in the Fiscal Year 2013 budget, which removes DOE from federal grant clearing house review. According to Leon Guerrero, the rider did not receive a public hearing and is "another example of bad legislation being enacted under the cover of darkness that has wide-ranging implications for children and families."

Won Pat reacts saying she wrote the language as requested by DOE superintendent Jon Fernandez during a July budget hearing in order to "help streamline and improve efficiencies."  Won Pat adds that visiting USDOE representatives also made the suggestion for such legislation in August.

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