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ASDOE's $24.7M consolidated grant application is approved

Education director Dr. Ruth Matagi-Tofiga [SN file photo]
Grant money supports both public and private schools

The US Department of Education (USDOE) has approved the local Department of Education’s Consolidated Grant of more than $24 million, which is the largest federal funding source for ASDOE.

The grant money is used to pay for various expenses, including teachers.

During the ASDOE fiscal year 2018 budget hearing yesterday before the Fono Joint Budget Committee, Education director Dr. Ruth Matagi-Tofiga shared the good news when asked about issues on grants for the department.

In a brief statement after the budget hearing, Matagi-Tofiga explained that she was informed by the USDOE on Sept. 1st that the ASDOE Consolidated Application has been approved for a total of $24.7 million.

Matagi-Tofiga extends her gratitude to ASDOE’s grant team, ASDOE divisions, “and our private schools for putting our application together.”

(As previously reported by Samoa News, the Consolidated Grant also supports private schools on island.)

“Consolidating projects under the federal formula grant program was indeed our major task,” she said, and pointed out that the Consolidated Grant “is now a 3-year cycle [and] ASDOE is now working on the monitoring and reporting of 2016 consolidated projects.”

According to ASG budget documents, ASDOE’s proposed FY 2018 budget totals $65.63 million, with $18.6 million funded by local revenues, and just over $47 million in grants - which includes $16.79 million from consolidated grants that is providing $10.7 million to pay for personnel costs.

Other federal grants in the FY 2018 budget include: Special Education $6.28 million; Early Childhood Education $3.74 million; School Lunch Program (which is funded by the US Department of Agriculture) $19.23 million; and the Territories & Freely Associated States Education Grant $977,000

ASDOE’s FY 2018 budget hearing lasted not more than 15 minutes.

Matagi-Tofiga was asked about the status of classroom teachers, to which she responded that a vast majority of schools are well staffed, except for just a few positions that need to be filled, as teachers continue to resign every week.

She said no classroom is left unattended, or without a teacher, with school counselors and principals stepping in if a teacher is absent.