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60 Million dollars in ARRA funds were awarded to the department more than two years ago. This is the second time the Governor has had to ask for an extension.
DOE Superintendent Jon Fernandez says delays in the procurement process are to blame for the Department's inability to spend all the funds by the deadline.
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Speaker Judi Won Pat has called for a roundtable discussion on the ARRA dollars. Thats scheduled for Wednesday at 6:30pm in the Legislative Hearing Room.
READ the Governor's release in FULL below:
Guam DOE Gets Second ARRA Extension Request to Federal Counterpart
Governor makes request on behalf of DOE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 22, 2012
Governor Calvo – for a second time – has come to the Guam Department of Education’s assistance and requested U.S. DOE for an extension on the use of ARRA funds. Most of these funds are to repair public schools and have not yet been obligated.
“I don’t understand why this money hasn’t been spent to fix the schools for our kids and teachers,” Governor Calvo said. “This is the second time I’ve been asked to make this extension request. Let’s just hope U.S. DOE honors this second request.”
This issue, which deals with millions in remaining unobligated ARRA funds for school repairs and air conditioning, has gone by without a single legislative oversight hearing.
In a roundtable discussion held earlier this year, the legislative majority, specifically the budget chairman, expressed full confidence in DOE’s ability to make the repairs and spend this money on time.
“I can’t believe we’re here again,” Governor Calvo said. “I’ve spoken with the new superintendent about this and he’s just as concerned at the glacial pace of the repairs using this money.”
"We just need to fix those schools, that's the bottom line,” Sen. Aline Yamashita said. “All of us who are parents or who have been parents of public school students know what the children and teachers and staff are going through. I hope U.S. DOE understands the situation and grants this second extension request."
Governor Calvo asked Jon Fernandez during their first official meeting whether he wanted the extension. This follows a request by then-interim Superintendent Taling Taitano for the Governor to make this extension request to U.S. DOE. Fernandez responded – exasperated – that he wanted to use the pending deadline to push DOE to obligate as much as possible, then make the request. However, the deadline is only two months away.
“We’re running against the clock here,” Governor Calvo said. “I don’t want to lose that money, because our students and teachers need it.”
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