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Not just LBJ — ASG fails to pay full subsidy for ASCC

The government failed to pay more than half a million dollars in subsidy to the American Samoa Community College in fiscal year 2011, while more than $300,000 is not yet paid for the current fiscal year 2012, says ASCC acting president Dr. Daniel Aga.

The ASCC official was responding to Samoa News questions following a statement by Rep. Tapumanaia Galu Satele Jr., during Wednesday’s House session. Tapumanaia stated that in addition to LBJ Medical Center, the ASCC also has not received all of its required subsidy for the last two fiscal years, as required by law.

Tapumanaia quoted ASCC staff members saying that it was revealed at an ASCC meeting earlier this week that about 15 instructors haven’t received their pay checks from the last quarter.

“I’m told some instructors have refused to release student’s grades until they are paid, and also they have threatened to go on a strike if they do not get their pay checks”, said Tapumanaia, adding that he is concerned that the month of April is the ASCC accreditation visit and the funding issue may become a problem for the college.

During last September’s FY 2012 budget hearings, ASCC officials told lawmakers that the government had not been paying the full subsidy amount in the budget law for FY 2011, let alone previous years, to ASCC.

When asked about the subsidy, Aga told Samoa News yesterday that the government has not paid $589,769 in FY 2011 subsidy and the college is owed $361,018 for the current fiscal year. He did not have the information for FY 2010.

“I am not aware of individual instructors who may have threatened to withhold grades because of delayed compensation. Faculty is aware that the first step in the College's clearance process is to turn in grades,” Aga explained. “Only when the clearance is complete is it then sent to the Business Office to process payment.”

According to the college official, all staff instructors have been paid and adjunct faculty instructors — or temporary teachers — who taught last summer have also been paid, while those who taught in the fall of 2011 will be be paid either this month or early next month.

Regarding the issue of  teachers who may go on strike, Aga said this is not true, adding that he spoke to more than 20 faculty staff and they were surprised to hear about this.

“In fact, the teachers are all busy advising students and preparing for next week’s classes to start,” he said.

Aga said he also met with Dr. Randy Dewees, the President of Faculty Staff, who said he is not aware of any intention of a strike, and there are no plans by teachers to go on strike.

Meanwhile, Tapumanaia has requested that the House Education Committee hold a hearing so that lawmakers can receive testimony from ASCC officials on these issues. House Speaker Savali Talavou Ale agreed, saying that something should be done to address these ASCC matters.