Use of funds allocated to the Department of Education to recover from earthquakes and hurricanes Irma and María is unknown
Following several requests for information submitted to the Department of Education, the Center for Investigative Journalism (CPI, in Spanish) today asked the Superior Court to order the agency and its designated Secretary, Elba Aponte Santos, to release it. The special appeal for judicial review that the CPI filed is the remedy offered by the recently approved Transparency and Access to Public Information Act (Act 141 of 2019) when a government agency fails to comply with the term to deliver the public information requested, CPI Executive Director Carla Minet said. The information that the CPI asked for includes the public school enrollment and budget starting in Fiscal Year 2015-2016, the funds assigned to the Department of Education to address the emergencies brought on by Hurricanes Irma and María in 2017, and the earthquakes occurred early in 2020, the list of contracts awarded using those funds, updated information on the use of funds from the federal “Immediate Aid to Restart Operations (Restart)” program, the Memorandum of Understanding between the Infrastructure Financing Authority (known as AFI, in Spanish) and the Department of Education and the plan that the agency presented on Dec. 21, 2020 for recovery projects that would be carried out with the $2 billion that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has already obligated. “The people were told that the Educational Reform approved during the last administration would provide transparency regarding each school budget and the use of funds in the Department of Education.