Congressman Faleomavaega today announced that he has been informed by the White House that $30,054,434 is now available for American Samoa under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. In a recent release from the U.S. Department of Education, Secretary Arne Duncan stated that his funding will “lay the foundation for a generation of education reform and help save teaching jobs at risk of local budget cuts.”
“I am pleased to share that these crucial investments in education will serve as stepping stones to educational reform and economic recovery in American Samoa. This funding will create incentives for school improvement, create jobs, and make investments in education that will result in many future benefits for our people,” the Congressman stated.
Today’s funding, according to the U.S. Department of Education, is being made available through American Samoa’s successful completion of Phase I of the application for State Fiscal Stabilization Funds (SFSF). In order to receive the funds, American Samoa will need to collect, publish, analyze and act on basic information regarding the quality of classroom teachers, annual student improvements, college readiness, the effectiveness of state standards and assessments, progress on removing charter caps and interventions in turning around underperforming schools.
In addition to these assurances, American Samoa is also required by the Department of Education to report how the ARRA funds are used, including the number of jobs saved as well as the amount of local tax increases that were avoided due to the funding.
Including the funds made available today, American Samoa has received over $37,794,976 in education stimulus funds. The total amount includes:
- $30,054,434 in State Fiscal Stabilization Funds (Phase I)
- $4,949,278 in Consolidated Grants for Insular Areas
- $240,808 in Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Funds
- $2,534,738 in Pell Grants
- $15,718 in Work Study Funds
Furthermore, American Samoa will be eligible to apply for another $14,564,094 in Phase II of the State Fiscal Stabilization Funds application. If approved, the total amount of education stimulus funds awarded to American Samoa will reach $52,359,070.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank President Obama as well as my colleagues in Congress for their leadership and support in making this historic investment possible. I would also like to thank Secretary Arne Duncan for his commitment to improving America’s schools through what he called the ‘single largest boost in education funding in recent history,’” Faleomavaega stated.
“I also would like to thank and commend the director of our local Department of Education, Dr. Claire Poumele, and our local education leaders for their efforts in serving the youth of American Samoa. As they move forward with school reform and improvement on the local level, this funding will help to sustain our schools and ensure our students consistent access to high quality educators and resources. More importantly, this funding will serve as a major asset to American Samoa as we move forward on the road to recovery,” the Congressman concluded.
“As Secretary Duncan reiterated, the Recovery Act was designed to rescue the economy from immediate peril and invest in the building blocks of a strong economy. Education will always be a central building block for our national and local economy. Therefore, I would like to commend our leadership again for making education a priority of the Recovery Act. Similar to the funding made available through Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010, this recent boost in education funding will be an investment with long-lasting benefits for students, schools, families, teachers, and the local economy,” the Congressman concluded.