The CNMI Public School System posted a negligible decrease in its student population this school year 2013-2014 compared to last school year.
Education Commissioner Dr. Rita Sablan reported to the Board of Education during its meeting on Friday that as of Sept. 23, PSS has a total enrollment of 10,635 students on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota.
That represents a mere 11-student decrease from the 10,646 student population recorded by PSS in school year 2012-2013, according to Sablan.
She described the decrease as insignificant and said that PSS is still okay with its teacher-student ratio.
Sablan said the biggest decrease was recorded by Kagman High School, which lost 17 percent of its student population following the transfer of its grade 6 students to Chacha Oceanview Junior High School.
Marianas High School, meanwhile, saw its student population go down by 2.8 percent to 1,489 students, while Hopwood Junior High School also saw its number of students dip by 1.2 percent to a more manageable 1,213.
Conversely, two public schools on Tinian had the highest increase in student population. Sablan said that Tinian Junior High School and Tinian Elementary School both registered increases in enrollment.
She attributed this to more students transferring from Grace Christian Academy and the closure of St. Joseph Catholic School on the island.
As a result of the transfer of grade 6 students to its campus, Chacha Oceanview also experienced a whopping 28-percent uptick on its student population, according to the commissioner.
$350K federal fund left
At the same board meeting, PSS federal programs officer Tim Thornbourgh reported that the system’s federal grants is now down to $350,000 as of Sept. 18, 2013.
“Almost all our consolidated grant money is expended. You’ll see a lot of zeros. We have tiny amounts of public education money and a little bit of school-wide program that is down to $19,000 with [purchase orders] that were turned in on the previous Monday. We still do have a little bit of private school money left.”
He said what’s left of the consolidated grant—around $350,000 out of $8.4 million—will now be rolled over into the fund balance and added to PSS’ new consolidated grant of $8.7 million, which he expects to receive today, Monday.
With regards to the federal transit grant, Thornbourgh said only $160,000 is left, which actually carries over from fiscal year 2011 monies. He said the $160,000 is in two categories—some $100,000 for bus maintenance and $55,000 for new vehicle purchase.
Board member Marylou Ada, via conference call, asked Thornbourgh if there are future grants for PSS’ fuel costs.
Thornbourgh said he has had talks with Commonwealth Office of Transit Authority special assistant Thomas J. Camacho but Camacho said all their grants are already obligated.
BOE chair Herman Guerrero said he would bring the issue up with Gov. Eloy S. Inos so that the government can set aside gas money for PSS.