top of page
  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Millions in public funds invested for Guaynabo schools found in state of decay

Urban Elementary School of Guaynabo

OIG investigation shows abandoned elementary school had been used as shooting gallery

By The Star Staff

The Office of the Inspector General of Puerto Rico (OIG) on Monday revealed serious deficiencies in the management of school equipment and structures by the island Department of Education after an inspection at the Urban Elementary School of Guaynabo and the Superior Vocational School of Guaynabo.

The report highlights the abandonment of structures and the accumulation of useless equipment and debris showing years of inadequate management and lack of maintenance. The facilities at the Superior Vocational School, which were to be used for educational purposes, have served as a warehouse for more than 15 years, with educational resources and administrative documents that were wasted and deteriorated.

The OIG, after detailed inspections the most recent of which took place on Sept. 13, 2023, documented a state of total deterioration and disuse, highlighting the need for urgent action for the maintenance and conditioning of the structures. Additionally, equipment with Department of Education property numbers was found scattered around and not properly used.

As part of the investigation, an inspection of the theater at the Urban Elementary School of Guaynabo was carried out, which revealed that the structure is in deplorable condition, which explains why it remains completely unusable in disrepair. The deficiencies detected in the theater were many, including areas that present obvious health risks, a completely destroyed security door, extensive leaks in the ceiling, various detached sections of the walls and ceilings, the need to completely replace air conditioning units, bathrooms in a state of abandonment with overflows and leaks, the presence of dead animals in states of decomposition, and unauthorized accessibility that creates health and safety risks for the school community.

Furthermore, the presence of mattresses, clothing and traces of food showed that the facilities were being used at night by individuals without authorization.

Empty alcoholic beverage containers, paraphernalia related to controlled substances and a notable accumulation of waste were also found in the surrounding area.

Contract A-872, which stipulates shared responsibility between the Department of Education and the Public Buildings Authority (PBA) for the maintenance of the structures through 2036, has not been adequately fulfilled, noted the investigation report. Despite a damage report from Hurricane Maria assessed at $895,427, the entities involved have not claimed the funds necessary for rehabilitation of the school facilities.

The certified cost of the AP-8303 project of the vocational school amounts to some $23,529,792.36, not including the value of the land, and the total estimated investment reaches $27,183,410.70, with a significant budget impact and invoices pending payment by the Education Department.

The OIG urged the Department of Education and the PBA to conduct an immediate evaluation and take corrective measures to retrofit the facilities. It also recommends that the island health secretary evaluate possible legal or regulatory violations arising from the findings.

“Although the problems predate the current secretary of the Department of Education, there is confidence that under her leadership the persistent deficiencies will be effectively addressed,” the OIG said in a statement.

108 views2 comments

2 comentarios

Oscar Melendez
Oscar Melendez
30 ene

Que vergüenza como se pierde el dinero del pueblo en proyectos sin uso y abandonados. Van tres años de Pierluisi y eso sigue como está?

“Despite a damage report from Hurricane Maria assessed at $895,427, the entities involved have not claimed the funds necessary for rehabilitation of the school facilities.”

Me gusta

William Rosa
William Rosa
30 ene

How disgraceful this could be? As we all know, due to the Puerto Rican media excellent work everyone in PR knows about this case. This, like with many other issues, is one of the cans the PPD/PNP had been kicking down the road for years without attempting to addressed them in any way, shape or form. Perhaps, through this case we can see the DE as a microcosm of these governments political governing for the last 74 years.

It will be an understatement to talk about public education in the context of the wellbeing of the citizens. However, the PPD/PNP actions begs the question, do they know the validity of this statement. The total disregard they had demonstrated time and…

Me gusta
bottom of page