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Charlotte Amalie
Tuesday, July 5, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesFEDS PLACE CONDITIONS ON EDUCATION GRANT FUNDS

FEDS PLACE CONDITIONS ON EDUCATION GRANT FUNDS

The flow of federal funds into the V.I. Department of Education has slowed because of Washington’s uncomfortableness with local accountability.
At a hearing of the Senate Education Committee on Monday, Education Commissioner Ruby Simmonds said delays in receiving a large portion of the nearly $27 million the public school system is slated to collect in federal funds for Fiscal Year 2001 is affecting several programs. She said approximately $13 million for adult education and about $9.7 million for programs for individuals with disabilities either haven’t been received or are pending.
Under the watch of former Education Commissioner Liston Davis in 1998, the department was warned by federal education officials that special conditions could be imposed if steps weren’t taken to improve local accountability, particularly in the area of special education. Simmonds said the department was given three years to come into compliance.
In March 2000, the U.S. Department of Education imposed special conditions because of concerns over fiscal accountability and other problems, she said, mainly focusing on the proper tracking of federal grant expenses.
The conditions include:
– That the V.I. Finance Department create a separate account for federal money coming into the Education Department. That has been done, Simmonds said.
– That the Education Department prepare certified expense reports, including providing copies of requisitions and invoices that involve federal grant money. That has been done, Simmonds said.
– That the Education Department comply with the requirements of the Single Audit Act. Simmonds said a firm has been hired to undertake the review.
In addition to the conditions, the Education Department is working on a reimbursement basis with the federal government in which programs are to be paid for first with local funds. The federal government then reimburses the department for the costs of implementing the programs. But because of the dearth of local government monetary support for all its department, some programs are going without funding.
"This is creating hardships on all programs using these funds," she said.
According to the Education Department’s 2001 budget, which was submitted early last year, the department has a Federal Grants and Audit Office responsible for overseeing grant management activities in education. It is supposed to be involved in preparing grant applications, federal financial reporting and allocating federal funds. It also coordinates audits of federal funds, which include preparation of audit responses.
The department has completed an audit for 1995 and preparing to begin an audit for 1998, Simmonds said.
She said the department is attempting to have audits for 1996 and 1997 waived so it can focus on 1999 and 2000.
Meanwhile, Simmonds told senators that the department’s efforts to process paper work for teachers’ retroactive pay raises continues.
"We’re trying to get this work done," she said, noting that the first 500 retroactive documents went to Finance a week ago.

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The flow of federal funds into the V.I. Department of Education has slowed because of Washington’s uncomfortableness with local accountability.
At a hearing of the Senate Education Committee on Monday, Education Commissioner Ruby Simmonds said delays in receiving a large portion of the nearly $27 million the public school system is slated to collect in federal funds for Fiscal Year 2001 is affecting several programs. She said approximately $13 million for adult education and about $9.7 million for programs for individuals with disabilities either haven’t been received or are pending.
Under the watch of former Education Commissioner Liston Davis in 1998, the department was warned by federal education officials that special conditions could be imposed if steps weren’t taken to improve local accountability, particularly in the area of special education. Simmonds said the department was given three years to come into compliance.
In March 2000, the U.S. Department of Education imposed special conditions because of concerns over fiscal accountability and other problems, she said, mainly focusing on the proper tracking of federal grant expenses.
The conditions include:
– That the V.I. Finance Department create a separate account for federal money coming into the Education Department. That has been done, Simmonds said.
– That the Education Department prepare certified expense reports, including providing copies of requisitions and invoices that involve federal grant money. That has been done, Simmonds said.
– That the Education Department comply with the requirements of the Single Audit Act. Simmonds said a firm has been hired to undertake the review.
In addition to the conditions, the Education Department is working on a reimbursement basis with the federal government in which programs are to be paid for first with local funds. The federal government then reimburses the department for the costs of implementing the programs. But because of the dearth of local government monetary support for all its department, some programs are going without funding.
"This is creating hardships on all programs using these funds," she said.
According to the Education Department’s 2001 budget, which was submitted early last year, the department has a Federal Grants and Audit Office responsible for overseeing grant management activities in education. It is supposed to be involved in preparing grant applications, federal financial reporting and allocating federal funds. It also coordinates audits of federal funds, which include preparation of audit responses.
The department has completed an audit for 1995 and preparing to begin an audit for 1998, Simmonds said.
She said the department is attempting to have audits for 1996 and 1997 waived so it can focus on 1999 and 2000.
Meanwhile, Simmonds told senators that the department’s efforts to process paper work for teachers’ retroactive pay raises continues.
"We’re trying to get this work done," she said, noting that the first 500 retroactive documents went to Finance a week ago.