An error in the interpretation of what “displaced student” means led the Department of Education to count students who did not meet the requirements of that definition and receive an estimated $6.5 million from the Emergency Fund after Hurricanes Irma and María to which it allegedly was not entitled.
Of the 242 community aqueduct systems legally registered in Puerto Rico as franchises, 31% have not requested recovery funds for the damages caused to infrastructure by Hurricanes Irma and María in September 2017, according to data from the Government’s Central Office of Recovery, Reconstruction and Resiliency (COR3). Although the reasons are different for each community aqueduct, not owning the land where the equipment and wells are located, the number of documents that the federal government requires, and the lack of orientation to those who administer these systems, are some of the causes for which these entities fall short of the requirements to apply for funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and COR3. As of this week, a total of 167 community aqueducts have requested recovery funds, said COR3 press spokeswoman Maura Ríos Poll. Of these, 150 have already gotten the obligation of the money, according to data from the COR3 website, and 21 of those have not yet received any disbursement. There are 242 community aqueducts recognized as franchises by the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (DRNA, in Spanish).
Keeping track of the federal funds for recovery projects that are being granted by the Government of Puerto Rico is an impossible mission. There is no centralized place for all those contracts and, although there are some scattered on the webpages of the Central Office of Recovery, Reconstruction and Resiliency, known as COR3, the Department of Housing and the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico (FOMB), there are others that are not registered or are not identified as recovery funds. For example, the COR3 webpage shows only four contracts executed in 2018. The agency that is supposed to centralize the management of these funds, but there is no information about contracts that other government agencies or municipalities have executed using recovery funds. This specificity, about contracts related to recovery funds, neither can be found in the Contract Registry of the Office of the Comptroller, where amendments to the contracts are also missing.