Unused Education Funds
This pisses me off every year and I wish there was something, in addition to voting, that I could do about it.
Territory Tops List for Unused Federal Education Funds, Yet Again
by David S. North
"April 3, 2007 -- For the fourth year running, the U.S. Virgin Islands has come in dead last among jurisdictions in the use of federal funds for education, on a per pupil basis."
"This time, the total funds sent back to Washington -- because the local system could not figure out how to use them -- amounted to $2.42 million, or more than $129 for each and every pupil in the islands' school system."
"These funds are available, under exactly the same set of rules, for every state and territory. There is no need for the territory to win an application- writing competition, no need for matching funds. All the territory has to do is to ask for the funds and then account for them in keeping with federal regulations."
"In comparison to the $129 per-pupil reversion for the territory, no other entity was even close. Next down the list was Puerto Rico, which sent back $26 per pupil. The state with the worst record, South Dakota, let $9.38 per pupil slip through its hands."
"American Samoa and Guam, two Pacific territories with school systems of roughly the same size as that of the U.S. Virgin Islands, did much better with these programs. While the territory failed to use $2.4 million, Guam reverted only $124,487 and American Samoa sent back all of $3,156. "
Does the VI do it in an attempt to be less reliant of the federal government?
No, it's because the territory's interests have been largely managed by idiots.
I find it ironic that so many in the USVI complain about being oppressed by the Federal Gov. and then lose millions of dollars in aid. Who really is oppressing the people of the USVI?
I saw it and was also p'd off but remember that this was under the former Governor's supremic reign (remember he who was a former Education Commissioner?) and trust that next year's figures will be a whole much better. Hope springs eternal. Cheers!
I too am hopeful (not optimitic, but trying) that the new government will stop this insanity.
It's complicated but for most folks in the USVI, oppression by the Feds isn't the issue.
dnt: Well, if the Education governor's deputy hadn't (allegedly) embezzled nearly a million dollars http://www.virginislandsdailynews.com/index.pl/article_home?id=17606830 maybe there would be money for the Department of Education. BTW, I was at the Community Development Block Grant hearing last last night. There was a great outcry re: Education for applying for HUD money to fix the playgrounds of several schools. For example, the Yvonne Bowsky School (formerly known as Peace Corps) was completely rebuilt several years ago with NO playground in the plans, the Sibilly School's playground has been unusable for an extended period of time, etc. More than one audience member mentioned the money being sent back.
IMO, they were still getting their paychecks so why do the work to get the Federal money? And if they HAD bothered, they probably would have stolen it or squandered it anyway.
Let's hope this changes with what I hope is a new day dawning.
The article link you provided states, "Simmonds began serving as one of Turnbull's top advisers in June 1999 and stayed for nearly Turnbull's entire administration. As deputy chief of staff, he provided financial advice and general management consultation to the governor."
I know it's just fantasy but methinks it entirely reasonable to hold the former governor responsible for the illegal actions of the cronies in his administration. These clowns were paid salaries with taxpayer dollars and as punishment for betraying taxpayer trust; their future wages should be garnished until treble their debt to taxpayers is settled.
In my opinion, the only way to clean house, force the revelation of the corrupt, and purge the corrupted from the payroll, is to make it a requirement that anyone engaging in fiscal impropriety, or found failing to report fiscal impropriety, be summarily dismissed and prosecuted for breach of public trust. All future wages by these individuals should be garnished until treble the amount of the theft from taxpayers has been repaid.
If corruption were profoundly disadvantageous, fewer corrupt folks would enter public service and existing corruption would be swiftly reported. I may be a hardass but this is a small place where everyone knows everyone else's business, so corruption is generally well known among co-workers. Those co-workers are public servants and owe it to the public to police their ranks.
I guess Fatso Turnbull just didn't know what was going on!!!!! he must have been the most sublimely unaware human being in re cent history.
Hope I didn't offend. I guess I was reacting to the letters in the STX Source.
No offense taken, Bassman. There are some "separatists" on STX, by which I mean folks who want STX to be an entity independent of the USVI and the USA, and perhaps voices sympathetic to their cause are what you read in the Avis.
Just realize that the new Gov is trying his best to clean house little by little. Maybe this time positive changes will happen. It can only get better. if we all keep trying to make it better.
In your research, have found out how much the District of Columbia Public Schools have had to return? I know it was a significant amount a few years ago. And they are right down the street from the Feds.
i used to work in education in a. samoa. we had a great, creative person running the federal program. you had to account very specifically for the funds-lots of red tape & paperwork, but hey, it's free money, so with some effort it's certainly worth it! i know we sure made EVERY attempt to spend our school's allotment each year-again because of the documentation required (deadlines, reports, etc) that is likely why it goes unused...
Melody, I understand that the DC system isn't the greatest either. Hell, Los Angeles School District is bad.
Note this: Some of the people in government are very smart and very rich. The U.S.V.I. gets the education and other money every year. The don't spend a dime, collect interest on (for example- one year was $3million, interest would be 3% or more of that) and send back the money to the federal government. And do they ever explain what happens to the interest? If you made $$$ every year by sitting on money....
I heard a much more devious explanation of why the funds don't get spent.
The funds are drawn and deposited in an interest bearing account. The politician/ bureaucrats then get a kick back of the interest from the bank and convert it to their personal use. When the grant period expires they return the money to the Feds,
If this is true or not I can't confirm, but given the lack of financial controls in the VI and corrupt nature of our elected officials it certainly is believable.
Well, Jim Dandy (why do I want to sing "Go Jim Dandy, GO Jim Dandy?"), it may be devious, but it might explain how someone (allegedly) embezzled $900,000 without anyone in the government knowing about it...
Yeah and even if the Feds catch you getting a conviction in the VI seems to be almost impossible. Take today in the paper the case where a guy arrested for having numerous firearms, bullet proof vests and narcotics in his house. He was found not guilty on all seventeen counts. His defense I didn't know they were in the house. The jury bought it.
"If it doesn't fit you must acquit"
J. Cochran, esq, expired
Jim Dandy, come along now. As promoguy reminded us, people all over the US are acquitted of crimes every single day when it's rationally obvious that they're guilty. However, "rational" doesn't always make a case. The judicial system is fraught with so many twists and turns and a jury has to weigh everything "beyond a reasonable doubt."
The V.I. generally, I would say, stands pretty fair and square with most US jurisdictions in putting together a sufficient case which results in conviction.