The Public School System and Board of Education have asked a legal interpretation from the Office of the Attorney General on sections of the CNMI Constitution regarding revenue sources set aside for public schools.
In an interview, BOE chair Herman Guerrero explained that this year the governor identified some $180,000 in total resources. “By the time they start deducting for commitments, you are saddled with $140,000 for appropriations,” he said. “So we are asking if it is the net [amount] or the total amount [that PSS budget should be taken from]? The question is, what is the intent of the Constitution,” he said.
Guerrero said they are waiting for a response from the AG. They sent the letter about two weeks ago, he said.
Right now, PSS gets 25 percent of the general revenues of the government, after House Legislative Initiative boosted from 15 percent to 25 percent the minimum amount of the government budget set aside for PSS.
The Constitution states: “The public elementary and secondary education system shall be guaranteed an annual budget of not less than 25 percent of the general revenues of the Commonwealth through an annual appropriation.”