Guam – The Guam Education Board unanimously agreed on the terms of the contract of the third party fiduciary agent during Wednesday night’s executive session. That takes care of its federal funding needs, but it won’t resolve the $8 million dollar shortfall DOE is projecting before the end of this fiscal year.
The main focus for Wednesday night’s meeting was to ensure that the Board accept DOE’s proposal for the third party before the contract is signed. The U.S. DOE, the third party and all the parties involved need to review the contract before they sign the agreement.
According to DOE Superintendent Dr Nerissa Underwood, once the board accepted the terms of the contract, DOE immediately contacted the U.S. DOE last night. She says they immediately got a response that the U.S. DOE approved the contract.
DOE is still waiting for the signature page of the contract that had been signed by the U.S. DOE, as soon as they get that, the Governor and the Attorney General will need to sign it.
The U.S. DOE won’t release the federal funds until the 3rd party is able to establish their financial management system. When the contract eventually gets signed, it doesn’t mean that the federal funds will be released immediately. It could actually take up several weeks up to 60 days before the federal funds are released to DOE
Underwood says, “US DOE had made it clear that the lender must be ready to process all of the request and manage the our finanical services before they would release the funds.”
Once these federal funds are released it, it can’t be applied to DOE’s current $8 million short fall projection for this fiscal year.
Underwood says, “Those are two separate issues , even if the federal funds are released immediately it will not actually help us with the short fall that we have with the local funds.”
DOE could benefit from President Obama Spending Bill, that was signed into law several weeks ago, to Protect Teachers’ Jobs. This $10 billion Education job fund could give Guam’s DOE $20 million of federal money. According to Underwood, this could be applied to DOE’s predicted short fall and actually prevent the expected teacher furlough .
According to Underwood, the due date for the Job Fund application is September 9th and it is currently at Governor office where they are working it.