New high school! Two new junior high schools! More classrooms! Modernization at all the schools in Saipan, Tinian and Plota! Collateral equipment for the new buildings! Completion of the Sinapalu Elementary School in Rota! Completion of the longlong overdue MHS gym! Bathrooms upgraded at all schools! Dreams? Not any more. For the children of the CNMI, these dreams finally are coming true after so many years of frustration.
After two years of trying, the Public School System finally succeeded in obtaining a General Obligation Bond from a private lending institution in the United States for the Public School System projects. As a result there is a flurry of activity in building new schools and upgrading the present facilities. It is estimated that within the next two years the PSS will have built all the facilities it will need to house and educate its students for the next ten to fifteen years.
$29,960.000 will be spent! This huge amount is comprised of bond money totaling $14,980,000 to be repaid over the next ten years by the government which will come from the liquid fuel tax. This amount will be matched by an equal contribution of $14,980,000 from the Covenant Section 702 Funding from the United States.
From this amount, Rota will receive $3,745,000 for completion of the Sinapalu Elementary School, new classrooms, a nurse’s clinic, new shower and restroom facilities and general modernization at the existing school campuses. Some of the money will be used to help fund a new public school and general public library, a much needed and desired project for the people of Rota.
Tinian will receive $3,745,000 for a new junior high school, new school rooms, upgraded shower and restroom facilities, elementary playground improvement, collateral equipment for the Tinian High School and for general modernization of the existing facilities.
Saipan will get the remaining funds of $22,470,000 for its major cip projects. The PSS will construct a much needed new high school. The current one, MHS, houses over 1700 students and was built in 1969.
A new junior high school will be built in Kagman to relieve the overcrowding of Hopwood Junior High School which has over 1,100 students and is over 25 year old. New classrooms will be added to existing campuses, science and computer laboratories will be built, and an expansion of Hopwood Junior High school library are also planned. The infamous MHS gymnasium is slated for completionhonestly by next school year. In addition all restrooms will be upgraded in all schools. Even a new small school is planned for the Northern Islands.
All of this is being made possible by the vision of many people working together for the betterment of education of our children. The idea to borrow bond money was initiated by Don Farrell, who was Chairman of the Board of Education several years ago. The idea was further pushed by the present BOE members.
Finally with the blessing of the Governor and the Legislature, the plan to allow a private investment firm in the U.S. to sell bonds to raise the needed matching funds for the money to be contributed by the Covenant Section 702 Funding was approved. In May 1999, the bonds were sold. PSS is now plunging into the massive cip projects.
This action taken by the community is a true example of fine collaborative spirit. Kudos are to be given to everyone involved. \Within two years the CNMI will have first class facilities at all the schools. Yes, the future for our children is bright and optimistic. Thanks to the visionary efforts of our leaders.