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SENATOR MALONE EXPRESSES CONCERNS ABOUT EDUCATION DEPARTMENT'S FAILURE TO SPEND FEDERAL FUNDS
Senate Has Bill To Create Federal Grants Office
Charlotte Amalie, U.S. Virgin Islands, January 23, 2004) On Friday, January 23, 2004, Senator Shawn-Michael Malone had a public interview regarding the Virgin Islands communities concerns about non-expended federal funds by the Department of Education.
"As Vice-Chairman of the Committee on Education and Youth, I must express my concerns about this repeat performance on the Department of Education's part to expend Federal dollars in a timely manner. However, I must say that the Department's record in reducing the amount of Federal dollars that are sent back has improved, as evidenced by the requirements that must be adhered to under the Compliance Agreement. But sometimes the government's inability to expend federal dollars in a timely manner has to do with the unavailability of local matching funds, their highly restrictive nature, and sometimes outright neglect. It is important to note, however, that the local matching funds requirement for federal grants can be waived for territorial governments, as afforded by Federal law," Senator Malone explained.
"To address this long-standing problem, the 25th Legislature, in its wisdom, has already moved Bill No. 25-0048 to create a Federal Grants Office from my committee, Government Operations, to the Rules Committee, where it is currently pending," Senator Malone said. "We believe in an office dedicated solely to the procurement and management of federal grants. This way, personnel can focus on federal grants management and engage in the solicitation of new ones. Many other state and territorial governments have offices dedicated solely to federal grants management and it is time for the Virgin Islands to do the same," Senator Malone explained.
"Recently, my office discovered that a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) in the amount of $325,000 for the Guy Benjamin Elementary School is on the verge of being reprogrammed because of the Department of Education's inability to spend the money since the grant was awarded in 2001. My office is trying to ascertain what can be done to save the grant and put it to use to upgrade the cafeteria and gym for this school," Senator Malone concluded.