Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that the office of the Under Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) has contacted his office to inform him of upcoming plans by the USDOE to meet with agencies of the American Samoa Government and to ask for his advice in preparation for these meetings. The Congressman plans to meet with USDOE officials next week in his D.C. office to discuss the upcoming visit.
“According to the office of the Under Secretary for the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE), a group of eight representatives from its headquarters in Washington, DC will be in American Samoa on the week of September 13-17, 2004 to meet with officials of our local Department of Education and other departments of our local government that receive grants or are involved in programs funded by the USDOE,” Congressman Faleomavaega said.
“I welcome the decision by the U.S. Department of Education to make a visit to American Samoa to meet with local DOE officials. Two of the major topics for discussion during the meetings will be fiscal management and property procurement. The office of the Under Secretary oversees federal student aid, grants, budget, management, strategic accountability, and management improvement initiatives.”
“As I have said before, States pay for their children’s education by taxing local businesses, wealthy individuals and property owners. By collecting local taxes, most States pay approximately 90% of the costs associated with educating their children. In American Samoa, it is just the opposite. The federal government pays most of our education costs while our local government pays less than 20%,” the Congressman said.
“Put another way, on a per capita basis, the federal government gives American Samoa almost $2,800 per student or more federal aid than any other State or Territory. In turn, the federal government gives the average State only $600 per student.”
“With the federal government providing for most of our education costs, I continue to believe that more can and should be done at the local level and this is why I am pleased that federal USDOE officials will be meeting with our local leaders to discuss fiscal management and property procurement. I am hopeful that these meetings will serve as an example of how the federal government and our local government can work together to improve services to our people, especially when it comes to the education of our children. Any way you put it, education is the key to success and every child in American Samoa deserves to be successful,” the Congressman concluded.