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Friday, April 25, 2014

Public schools incur $1.7M budget overrun in FY 2013

Public schools recorded a budget overrun totaling $1.7 million in fiscal year 2013, according to Public School System finance director Derek Sasamoto.

He blamed the shortfall mainly on the high cost of utilities assessed public schools.

Fiscal year 2013 covers the period of September 2012 through Oct. 1, 2013.

PSS had a total budget of $31 million for that period.

The system was budgeted at $26.7 million for personnel costs but it actually spent $27.081 million, resulting in a shortfall of $330,000.

Its budget for operations and all others was at $2.036 million. However, its operational expenditures totaled $2.271 million, resulting in a shortfall of $234,000.

Also in fiscal year 2013, PSS was allocated only $2.2 million for its utilities. In that 12-month period, the system actually incurred $3.7 million—an overrun of over $1.4 million.

Because of this, Sasamoto said, PSS’ total shortfall in fiscal year 2013 amounted to $1.7 million.

Public schools, prior to the passage of Public Law 18-19, were charged government rates for water and wastewater. The law enacted in September last year now allows public schools to pay under the lower commercial water and wastewater rates.

Sasamoto also disclosed that toward the end of fiscal year 2013, the CNMI government transmitted supplemental funding of $160,000 for PSS. However, this amount was dedicated equally to CUC costs and school operations.

Sasamoto earlier disclosed that for the first quarter of the current fiscal year, the system is incurring a shortfall due to delayed allotments from the Finance Department. As of Jan. 17, 2014, the unremitted allotments for schools amount to $2.2 million.

PSS was promised a weekly allotment of $616,136.

Sasamoto said that PSS has no choice but to age its receivables and cut its daily expenses to cope with the budget shortfall. He said some reimbursements also helped the system’s cash flow situation.

This fiscal year 2014, PSS has been allocated a budget of $33.039 million.

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