The CNMI State Board of Education will be moving forward in suing the CNMI government to finally settle the issue over what constitutes the mandated 25 percent funding that PSS should get from general revenues.
BOE chair MaryLou S. Ada said they had given the CNMI House of Representatives enough time to answer the questions but it still failed to give an answer even before the July 31 deadline. The lawsuit would be filed at the CNMI Supreme Court.
The BOE, in their last board meeting in June, decided to postpone the filing of the lawsuit and gave a monthlong deadline for the CNMI Legislature to answer their questions.
“Yes, we are filing [the lawsuit]. July 31 was the last day to hear from the House whether they want to join us or not,” said Ada during a recess in yesterday’s board meeting at their office conference room.
“Now that they have not done anything, we’re moving forward. So our legal counsel [Ryan Meyerhoff] would be filing. All the research work is done, so we’re moving forward with it. It will be filed. When? We don’t know yet.”
The BOE wants the Supreme Court to finally clarify the provisions as what’s stated on the CNMI Constitution to guide future administrations in appropriating the budget for the CNMI educational system.
“It’s going to be a lawsuit to implore the central government to come out what are really general revenues of the Commonwealth. So that we can, for once and for all, put this matter to rest,” said Ada.
“Because some are saying that general revenues are after all obligations of the CNMI government. Our contention is that everything that touches the general fund is general revenue.”
She added that it’s already too late for the House to send their answers to the question since the deadline had already passed. “It’s too late. July 31st was our deadline and it was not met. We remained vigilant to stick to that date and file it.”
Saipan Tribune tried to get comments from House Speaker Ralph S. Demapan but he said that he has yet to finish reading the opinion penned by House legal counsel John Cool.
The Office of the Governor, meanwhile, declined to comment until they receive a copy of the pending complaint that the BOE will file. The Governor’s Office is involved in identifying the funds and other budgetary resources of the CNMI government.