In order to secure funds for the Public School System, a $9.5-million appropriation bill went through six amendments yesterday at a session of the Saipan and Northern Island Legislative Delegation and was finally substituted with another bill that lowered the money to just $3 million.
House Local Bill 21-28 now goes to Gov. Ralph DLG Torres.
The final version ultimately appropriates only $3 million of the $9.5 million from the annual casino license renewal fee payment, based on the substitute bill that Rep. Ivan A. Blanco (R-Saipan) introduced. That substitute bill allocates $685,000 out of the $3 million to assist PSS campuses. All precincts on Saipan except Precinct III chipped in, to come up with the $685,000 allotted to PSS.
Each precinct has $300,000 to play around with; each representative offered amendments to the substitute bill that included allocations to PSS.
From Precinct I, Rep. Janet Maratita (R-Saipan) allocated $50,000 each for Hopwood Middle School, Saipan Southern High School, San Vicente Elementary School, and Koblerville Elementary School, respectively, while Francisco M. Sablan Middle School and Dandan Middle School is allocated $35,000 each. The remaining $30,000 goes to the Micronesian Legal Services Corp. The amendment includes the CNMI’s 10% co-share for the repair of each school; the Federal Emergency Management Agency will shoulder 90% of the cost.
Precinct II’s Rep. John Paul Sablan (R-Saipan), who also chairs the delegation, offered an amendment that splits the $300,000 between the William S. Reyes Elementary School and Hopwood evenly for repairs, reconstruction, and rebuilding.
Precinct III’s $300,000, as allocated in Blanco’s substitute bill, was unchanged, with $150,000 for the Oleai Church road project and $150,000 for Industrial Drive repairs.
Precinct IV’s Reps. Joel Camacho (R-Saipan) and Sheila Babauta (Ind-Saipan) offered an amendment to allocate $25,000 each for Kagman High School, Tanapag Middle School, and Hopwood, respectively; Gregorio T. Camacho Elementary School is allocated $20,000; the remaining $200,000 is allocated for the construction of roads and drainages within the precinct.
Maratita, who offered an amendment for Precinct V’s allocations, allocated $25,000 each for Hopwood, Chacha Oceanview Middle School, and Kagman Elementary School, while the remaining $225,000 goes to the completion of the paving of Tangang Tangang Road in Papago and the paving of Kama Street in Kagman III.
All amendments unanimously passed the delegation on a vote of 16-0.
The Saipan Higher Education Financial Assistance program is allocated $500,000, while the Saipan Mayor’s Office is allocated $250,000; the Northern Islands Mayor’s Office gets $50,000; Center for Living Independently gets $94,000; delegation operations get $200,000; the Joeten-Kiyu Public Library gets $32,375; the Carolinian Affairs Office gets $21,595; the Indigenous Affairs Office gets $26,400; and many more government agencies such as the Family Violence Task Force, Public Defenders Office, and the NMI Museum were also allocated funds.