On April 7, 2021, U.S. Department of Education (USEd) Acting Assistant Secretary Ian Rosenblum notified Guam Department of Education (GDOE) Superintendent Jon Fernandez that Guam will be receiving $286,940,627 as part of critical aid provided in the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act of 2021.
The ARP, which was signed into law by President Joe Biden on March 11, 2021, contained $850,000,000 set aside for the Outlying Areas, to include American Samoa, Guam, Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Guam’s share was calculated based on the proportion of funds received in the most recent fiscal year under Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).
“The funding from the American Rescue Plan is significant and will help ensure that GDOE has the resources needed to re-open schools and address the needs of our students,” said Fernandez. “We are appreciative of this federal support, which allows us to focus our efforts on the safe return of more students to the classroom this coming school year.”
Based on the grant conditions, ARP funds are to focus on helping to return students safely to in-person instruction, maximize instructional time, and address learning loss. Also, equitable services will continue to be provided not just to GDOE schools but to charter and private non-profit schools as well. Finally, Guam will need to demonstrate maintenance of effort as a condition of receiving federal funds. The maintenance of effort defines a minimum level of local funding that must be provided to support elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education.
“It is important that the funds be prioritized for the purposes set forth by the President and USEd, so we can get our kids back in school and begin the hard work of getting them back on track after more than a year of dealing with COVID-19,” said Fernandez. “We look forward to working with the Governor and Legislature to ensure that Guam meets our maintenance of effort requirement and to ensure that we can utilize the federal funds to make critical long-term investments in our school system.”
GDOE Prioritizes $110 Million in ESF 2 Funding to Provide Safe Learning Environments for Students
In 2020, GDOE received $41.5 million from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act which established the Education Stabilization Fund (ESF) to help address the immediate safety needs of students and employees and support a shift to distance learning. Earlier this year, the second wave of ESF funding provided $110 million to GDOE to ensure the continued safety of students and employees and to help with the transition back to in-person instruction next school year.
Earlier this month, GDOE finalized and submitted its budget to USEd for the $110 million in ESF funding which will provide support to GDOE public schools, charter schools, and private schools. The share for GDOE public schools was approximately $86 million with the following priorities funded:
- Preparing Schools to Reopen— $44.4 million
- Meeting Academic, Social and Emotional Needs of Students— $22.2 million
- Expanding the Use of Technology— $19.6 million
A copy of the Education Stabilization Fund II budget can be found on the federal programs web page located at https://www.gdoe.net/District/Department/28-Federal-Programs-Division.