June 30, 2004 – The federal government wants to know if you suspect someone is misusing federal education funds in the territory. If you do, call the U.S. Education Department's Office of Inspector General at 1-800-MISUSED. That's 1-800-647-8733 if you prefer numbers. Additionally, you may call the U.S. Interior Department at 1-800-424-5081.
Oliver Elcock, the V.I. Education Department's compliance monitor, pointed out that "misuse" of federal education funds is vastly different from any failure on the part of the local department to utilize funds in a timely way.
"Don't confuse 'not used' with 'misused,'" he stressed.
Elcock said federal education funding comes in the form of grants which must be used according to the specified terms. For example, if the grant is to buy office equipment, it must be used for that purpose and no other.
The V.I. Education Department sends out notices twice a year asking people to report any suspected misuse of funds. Elcock said he got some calls after the last notice went out, in November 2003, but he doesn't recall how many.
He said he anticipates that this notice also will prompt some people to call.
According to Education Commissioner Noreen Michael, her department is required under terms of a consent agreement between the territory and the U.S. Department of Education to send out the notices supplying the hotline telephone numbers.
Information on the grant program funding was not available.
To contact Elcock, call 774-0100, ext. 3034.
Publisher's note : Like the St. Thomas Source now? Find out how you can love us twice as much — and show your support for the islands' free and independent news voice … click here.