Base PSS budget on calendar year


As a veteran teacher and former chairman of the board, please allow me to comment on the proposed bill to have individual schools prepare their annual budgets, due to be heard on Dec. 3.

If the bill is adopted and signed into law, there is no doubt the dedicated administration and faculties at each school, although already overburdened, will follow the law and create a model budget. There is also no doubt that when the individual school budgets reach the central office, the total will far exceed the overall budget and either be cut by central office or sent back to the schools to be redone, at the further expense of time and aggravation.

May I suggest that there is a better alternative, now that the Public School System is guaranteed 25 percent of the annual CNMI general fund revenues.

Change the PSS from a fiscal year budget to a calendar year budget, as with the state of Hawaii, which shares common problems with the CNMI PSS—transportation and communication between schools on separate islands.

The annual budget for PSS can be calculated and allocated to PSS central from the projected CNMI revenues in November/December. PSS central can then allocate a total budget to each school in January, giving them time to work with their faculties to create an individual school budget (as per the new mandates for “site-based management”), have it approved by central office in February/March, and place orders for materials in time to ensure they are received by each school well before school opens in August.

If the CNMI annual revenues are underestimated, as they should be in a growing economy, then adjustments can be made at the end of each fiscal year, with a bonus for each school that lived within its budget.

Don Farrell
Marpo Heights, Tinian

Contributing Author

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