Legal counsel reviews PSS petition for certified question


The House of Representatives legal counsel continues to review the Public School System’s petition for certified question regarding the definition of general funds in relationship to the agency’s funding.

In an interview with House Speaker Rafael S. Demapan (R-Saipan), Saipan Tribune learned that House legal counsel John Cool is still reviewing the PSS’ petition to file a certified question clarifying the definition of general funds.

Annual funding appropriations for PSS usually revolve around the CNMI constitutional mandate entitling the agency to 25 percent of general funds. PSS during a previous board meeting stated that last Tuesday was the deadline for the CNMI Legislature to sign the petition for the certified question before the Board of Education weighs launching a legal battle against the NMI government to clarify the issue.

In response, Demapan told Saipan Tribune that Cool is still reviewing the petition PSS submitted. However, if it all came down to him, he is leaning toward signing the petition.

“I am seriously considering working on a certified question [with PSS] to prevent a lawsuit against the CNMI government and to clarify many things,” he said, adding that he was not too privy on BOE discussions.

“The work of the legal counsel is not yet done, and once it is, I would be sitting with the legal counsel to discuss the next plan of action,” he continued, further reiterating that he is “seriously considering” the certified question to clarify present and future appropriations.

“Despite this issue, the Legislature would continue to comply with the CNMI constitutional mandate,” he added, referring to the 25 percent entitled from the general funds to PSS.

Erwin Encinares | Reporter
Erwin Charles Tan Encinares holds a bachelor’s degree from the Chiang Kai Shek College and has covered a wide spectrum of assignments for the Saipan Tribune. Encinares is the paper’s political reporter.

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