GDOE might go to low risk status

The exterior of the Guam Department of Education in Tiyan Barrigada in Tiyan, Barrigada. PNC file photo

Over time, GDOE has tried to reduce the amount they spend on the third-party fiduciary agent which has been used for almost 20 years by creating structures that will help them with the process without relying on the agency.

Chairman for the Guam Board of Education, Mark Mendiola said that in the past it was more difficult to handle the grants on their own because GDOE’s books were inaudible, they had a revolving door of superintendents, and a lot of questionable costs when managing federal funds, “Fast forward to date, you know we have a structure in place, we have internal controls, we have clean audits, we were able to demonstrate in the last visit out here that we were able to manage some of the resources.”

During their trip, they had a meeting to negotiate the contract with the third-party fiduciary agency which is about 2.2 million dollars.

During the meeting, Mendiola shared how Acting superintendent Francis Santos revealed that they can no longer afford the millions of dollars being spent and that they need to move forward especially now since the board has shown the major progress they have made.

Moreover, according to Mendiola, the United States Department of Education turned the conversation back to the third party and asked what they have been doing to take off some of the workload and return the control back to GDOE, “They basically said as of that meeting, they made it very clear that we are transitioning to show that we are able to handle taking full control of the funds the federal government provides us.”

Furthermore, the community has long asked why it has taken so long for the department of education to oversight the federal funds in which Mendiola responded during a Newstalk K57 interview with Patti Arroyo that Guam had to build and ensure we had a proper organizational structure as well as building a robust audit office, a budget and finance office and use GDOE’s resources to build the overall framework.

“They told us that we are now in full transition mode to basically remove the third party, but we said okay, there are some things we are renegotiating right now, we want to move closer to 0,” Mark Mendiola hopes to reach their goal in the month of March so they can be off the contract once in for all.

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Althea Engman or as she is referred to as Thea joined the PNC team in August of 2021 as their youngest reporter and after a few months she was given the opportunity to be their weather girl. She currently attends the University of Guam while working at Sorenson. Her hobbies include dancing, creating content for social media, as well modeling on the side, she also is a big dog lover. Before working for PNC, she didn’t think about pursuing a career in journalism or a related field but it has helped her figure out a better career path. She covers a wide variety of news beats with a focus on legislation and lifestyle.