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Calvo warns DOE to make this right for students

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 14, 2012

U.S. DOE will approve the Governor’s request for extension of the obligation timeline of Guam DOE ARRA funds, with conditions. This is the second time the Governor has had to make the extension request on behalf of Guam DOE because of its inability to obligate the federal money.

“This is the last time I’m making this request for them, so they need to hurry up and spend this money, “ Governor Calvo said. “What’s more important than meeting what will be this new deadline is actually repairing the public schools. If they lose these federal funds, it will be another hit against technology for students and teachers, teacher salaries, and classroom supplies.”
U.S. DOE will approve the extension with conditions:
1.     That Guam will obligate the funds by September 30, 2013;
2.     By October 15, 2012, Guam will provide U.S. DOE with the amount of funds obligated by project as of September 30, 2012;
3.     On the 15th of each succeeding month, Guam will provide U.S. DOE with a report on the progress in obligating funds and completing the relevant projects;
4.     Guam will not oppose any steps by U.S. DOE to recover Trust Account funds not obligated by September 30, 2013; and
5.     Guam will not oppose any steps by U.S. DOE to rescind approval of the extension to recover funds if 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 am calling on Guam DOE to provide all the information and make every single deadline U.S. DOE is requiring of them,” Governor Calvo said. “They cannot mess this up again. I will be communicating with the Superintendent on the processes necessary for us to meet all these conditions. I am demanding transparency from Guam DOE, and regular updates to the public about the progress on all the pending projects. There should be no delays considering that public school facilities are not up to standard for our children.”

The Governor is hopeful that new Superintendent Jon Fernandez will provide the necessary leadership to meet U.S. DOE’s conditions and, more importantly, to get the school repair projects done immediately.

Budget rider makes no sense
“The Governor has had to come to Guam DOE’s rescue twice already because of their inability to spend free money from the federal government,” Governor’s Chief Education Advisor Vince Leon Guerrero said. “It is beyond reason why the chairwoman on education in the legislature would even think that removing DOE from federal grant clearinghouse review is appropriate considering how often these mistakes are made.”

Leon Guerrero is referring to a rider in the recently-passed budget law that removes Guam DOE from federal funds review by the Guam State Clearinghouse. The rider originally was a bill by the speaker, which did not receive a public hearing and which the Governor and Lieutenant Governor opposed. This was done despite that for a third year, Guam DOE will have to pay millions to a third-party fiduciary agent put in place because U.S. DOE does not trust Guam DOE with federal education funds.

“This is just another example of bad legislation being enacted under the cover of darkness that has wide-ranging implications for children and families,” Leon Guerrero said. “This is why we need full transparency from Guam DOE about these funds, and we’re confident Superintendent Fernandez will agree.”