Calvo Secures Commitment: ARRA Money Can Pay Teachers, School Support Staff
Agreement to Help GovGuam’s Financial Problems
Press Update: March 3, 2011
Federal money soon may go to pay more than half of locally-funded public school salaries this year, allowing Guam not to lose federal money that had to be expended by December 2011.  By shifting the fund sources, Guam DOE will have more time to complete necessary capital improvement projects.
After weeks of discussion with public school leaders and federal partners, Governor Eddie Baza Calvo has been assured by the U.S. Department of Education they will support the use of money from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act for teachers, school support staff, and other personnel costs.
“This is just one of the creative ways we will maximize funds for the improvement of school facilities,” Governor Calvo said.  “It’s also another example of the real solutions that occur when this administration, public schools, the Legislature, and our federal partners collaborate and cooperate with each other.”
The Legislature plays a critical role in this effort, as budget adjustments must be made before U.S. DOE gives its final approval.
Governor Calvo, Education Superintendent Nerissa Underwood, Chief of Staff Franklin Arriola and Art Mariano from BBMR, GovGuam’s ARRA State Lead Agency, met with U.S. DOE Deputy Secretary of Education Tony Miller this week.  The Governor first raised this issue in person with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in a meeting during the National Governors Association conference last week.
Deputy Secretary Miller has agreed in principle to Guam’s request to reallocate approximately $60 million and upwards of $75 million from its SFSF Education Stabilization Fund grant to help the local government.
Background; Calvo Begins Efforts; Support from Legislature Since Last Month Governor Calvo created an ARRA Task Force in his first days in office to address mounting concerns that stimulus funding for Guam wasn’t being spent in time to meet deadlines.  The Governor ordered this task force to begin reformulating the grants to Guam DOE, so the money used to pay personnel costs for public schools.  Superintendent Nerissa Underwood and Deputy Superintendent Taling Taitano worked closely with the task force these past two months to move the process along.
Parallel to local discussions were talks between Chief of Staff Franklin Arriola, Chief Education Advisor Vincent Leon Guerrero with U.S. DOE officials.  Senator Ben Pangelinan joined the Governor’s call to reprogram the ARRA funding two weeks ago, in a February 18 press release and letter supporting the Governor Calvo’s position.
Sen. Pangelinan suggested reprogramming $36.6 million in ARRA funding.  Governor Calvo and DOE officials would like to reprogram as much as $75 million.

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