The Education Department’s fiscal year 2009 federal funding and one-time funding through the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was to be obligated by Sept. 30, 2011, and liquidated by the end of the year.
While all of the funds were obligated by the federal government’s September deadline, there were a few programs that could not be completed by December, Education Commissioner LaVerne Terry said in a statement.
The Education Department’s recent request for a federal funding waiver to allow it to spend some of the 2009 funding after the Dec. 30 deadline affects less than one percent of funds and will likely be approved, Terry said Thursday.
The waiver, if granted, would allow those programs to be completed during the 2012 school year.
Overall, Education received $118.6 million in federal funding between January 2010 and March 2011, and had — in the case of grant awards such as the State Fiscal Stabilization Funds — less than a year to obligate it.
The waiver request, which was sent in by the department earlier this week, added up to less than 1 percent of the total federal funding received, Terry said.
“And that money has all been obligated,” Terry added. “Every dollar has a purpose – there is nothing that is just hanging out there.”
All U.S. education departments were recently given the option to seek a waiver and extend the obligation deadline.
In the Department’s statement, correspondence from Michael Yudin, acting U.S. assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education, was cited in supporting the contention that a waiver request is normal, expected, and likely to be granted.
Yudin spoke about the “unprecedented amounts of funds” provided by the federal government to create jobs and boost special programs, according to the Education Department.
“Although I believe it is important that each State Educational Agency (SEA) and its sub-recipient local educational agency (LEA) ensure that Federal funds are obligated in a timely manner, I am acutely aware of the enormous need to provide continued support for meaningful education reform across the nation and the need to offer flexibility to SEAs and LEAs to give them further time to make spending decisions wisely,” Yudin wrote, according to the Education Department.
“For example, it would be unfortunate if grant recipients or sub-recipients terminate employees or postpone hiring when there are FY 2009 funds that could be used to keep personnel employed,” Yudin also said.
The federal waiver would allow officials to have continued access to the already-obligated money to support activities that stretch beyond the end of the year.
Along with funding various student intervention programs, professional development opportunities, capital projects, including the overhaul of 18 V.I. science labs, and various technological initiatives, Terry said much of the Department’s federal funding went toward retaining teaching jobs.