VIDEO: DOE Obligates Last of ARRA Funds

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Guam – The Department of Education has finally obligated the last of funds marginally awarded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. 

DOE had $880,000 remaining to obligate by the January 31st deadline.

Superintendent Jon Fernandez says the last of the money will go towards investments to benefit the island’s public schools including: $320,000 to purchase smart boards for classrooms, $215,000 to repair the roof of Jose Rios Middle School’s gymnasium, $130,000 to cover additional costs for renovations at Untalan Middle School, $123,000 to purchase desktop and laptop computers, and $91,000 to purchase mobile carts.

DOE received $60 Million dollars in ARRA funds in 2009.  The money was used to repair roofs, install fire alarm systems, and renovate campuses. The deadline to spend the money was extended several times with approval from the U.S. Department of Education which allowed DOE to move the money into the Adequate Education Trust Fund.  

READ the release from Guam DOE below:

GDOE SUCCESSFULLY OBLIGATES REMAINING TRUST FUNDS BY JANUARY 31 DEADLINE  

Guam Department of Education (“GDOE”) Superintendent Jon Fernandez confirmed on Friday that the approximately $880,000 remaining in the Adequate Education Trust Fund (“Trust Fund”) was obligated in time to meet the U.S. Department of Education’s (“U.S. DOE”) deadline of January 31, 2014.   

This completes the obligation of $60 million provided by U.S. DOE as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (“ARRA”) several years ago. The remaining funds were able to support the following investments:

* $320,000 to purchase 40 additional smart boards for classrooms
* $215,000 to repair the roof of Jose Rios Middle School gym
* $130,000 to cover additional costs for the Untalan Middle School renovation
* $123,000 to purchase 40 desktops, 25 laptops and software needed to provide continued support in implementing the financial management information system
* $91,000 to purchase three additional mobile laptop carts, 90 laptops and software for students

“It’s been a long road over the past couple of years to be able to effectively use the $60 million in federal funds to assist our public school system,” said Fernandez.

“I want to thank Deputy Superintendent Taling Taitano and her team for ensuring that these funds were fully obligated and committed by the end of January.” GDOE has been able to use the resources from the Trust Fund to repair all school roofs; install fire alarm systems across the school district; open up a beautiful fine arts center and gym at Southern High School; complete state-of-the-art STEM classrooms at Untalan Middle School and George Washington High School; begin renovation of the Untalan Middle School campus; and invest in technology, such as smart boards, STEM equipment, mobile laptop carts, and computers, to benefit students and department employees.

“When I first started here in July 2012, there was a lot of controversy about the need to request a second extension from US DOE beyond the existing September 30, 2012, deadline,” Fernandez said. “At that time, the department stood to lose a significant portion of the available funds. However, we were able to work with our partners at US DOE and with Governor Eddie Calvo and the Legislature to get the deadline extended to September 30, 2013.”

GDOE was able to successfully obligate 99 percent of the Trust Fund by September 30, 2013, and, based on this progress, US DOE decided to unilaterally grant an additional four months until the end of January 2014.

“It has been our goal at GDOE to ensure that every dollar and cent received from the original ARRA funds be used for the benefit of our employees, schools and, most importantly, our students,” said Fernandez. “I’m proud to say that we’ve accomplished this goal.”