Appropriations From the Department of Education for Courses of Less Than College Grade Essential to National Defense

B-11393: Jul 25, 1940

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The Federal Security Agency asked GAO's opinion whether funds appropriated in the Second Deficiency Appropriation Act, 1940 are available to meet expenditures and obligations incurred by a State for the cost of courses less than college grade essential to the national defense.

GAO answered in the affirmative.

B-11393 July 25, 1940

Federal Security Administrator, Federal Security Agency.

Sir:

I have your letter of July 15, 1940, as follows:

"In the administration of P.L. 668, 76th Congress, Chapter 437, 3rd Session, Title I, heading 'Office of Education', appropriating fifteen million dollars for payment to States, subdivisions thereof, or other public authorities, by the United States Commissioner of Education, for the cost of courses of less than college grade essential to the national defense, the following question arises:

"Is the money so appropriated and paid to a State as provided in the act available to meet expenditures and obligations incurred by a State for the purposes stated in the act prior to the date of such payment to it but not earlier than July 1, 1940, such expenditures and obligations having been incurred in anticipation of such payment.

"The occasion for the question arises from the fact that some States were already engaged on July 1, 1940 in operating public State of local school programs identical with those contemplated in the act and which were organized to meet local demands from industries essential to the national defense. Partly for this reason, and partly for the reason that some of the States were delayed in the preparation of their plans and in securing official approval by State boards for vocational education under which the program is administered, obligations were incurred between July 1, 1940, approved June 27, 1940, Public, No. 668, in the following terms:

The appropriation referred to was made in the Second Deficiency Appropriation Act, 1940, approved June 27, 1940, 545 Public, No. 668, in the following terms:

"Vocational education of defense workers, Office of Education: For payment to States, subdivisions thereof, or other public authorities, through certification from thime to time made by the United States Commissioner of Education to the Secretary of the Treasury of the name of such agency and the amount to be paid, such payment to be made prior to audit and settlement by the General Accounting Office, for the cost of courses of less than college grade, provided by such agencies in vocational schools pursuant to plans subnitted by such agencies and approved by the United states commissioner of Education, which plans shall include courses supplementary to employment in occupations essential to the national defense and pre-employment refresher courses for workers preparing for such occupations selected from the public employment office registers; and (not exceeding 2 per centum of this appropriation) for administration expenses in carrying out the purposes hereof, including printing and binding and personal services in the District of Columbia and elsewhere, $15,000,000. The duties of such Commissioner, in carrying out the purposes of this appropriation, shall be performed under the supervision and direction of the Federal Security Administrator, and such Administrator is hereby authorized to transfer not more than $10,000 of the sum herein appropriated, to the Office of the Administrator for use in carrying out the purposes hereof."

I find nothing in the above appropriation act, or in any other law, which would require that the Commissioner of Education in determining the amounts to be certified for payment to the States, subdivision thereof, or other public authorities to cover the cost of the courses described in the appropriation shall consider only such costs as are incurred by the States, subdivisions thereof, or other public authority subsequent to the payment to it of the Federal funds. Accordingly, the specific question stated in your letter, supra, is answered in the affirmative.

Respectfully,

Acting Comptroller General of the United States.

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