Amid concerns of not having enough funding for school year 1999-2000, the Public School System assures the community that a comprehensive analysis for its resources was completed before it opened the registration for kindergarten.
According to fiscal and budget officer William Matson, PSS ran the analysis to make the accurate count of its teaching force against its financial standing for the coming school year.
“From those numbers, we feel confident that we are okay. We don’t have to re-assign our kindergarten teachers to fill the necessary gap,” he said.
The assurance was made after some elected officials expressed concerns over the budgetary constraints of PSS while committing itself to finance the kindergarten program.
It will cost PSS around $800,000 to run the kindergarten program at 11 campuses in the CNMI with over 600 students. This early childhood program also received $200,000 from the federal government each year.
Although, a number of teachers are resigning this year, Matson said PSS will be able to hire for their replacement.
He said the $1.7 million additional money which was authorized by the Governor’s Office on top of its $37.7 million budget gave PSS the needed lift in its financial resources.
“We would not be able to do it without the $1.7 million,” he said. But PSS wanted to conduct the survey to make the correct cost estimate for school year 1999-2000.
While resources are assured for its kindergarten program, the PSS cannot meet the financial requirements needed in the 30 percent retirement bonus for its personnel who retired last year.
In previous years, the PSS was able to deliver the 30 percent bonus to retirees using its appropriation for vacant positions not being filled. However, the budgetary constraints this year made it impossible for PSS to allocate money for the retirees, he said.
Even if PSS did not recruit replacements for the non-certified vacancies, money will be used to carry out its educational mandate to the public, he added.