The Public School System will not be able to make payroll payments today and over 800 locally funded teachers and other personnel will experience a payless Friday.
According to a memorandum from Education Commissioner Dr. Alfred Ada that was sent out yesterday, he said that PSS will be unable to make payroll for all locally funded PSS employees today due to the unavailability of funds prompted by the current economic and financial crisis.
On top of missing a payroll, PSS is also still unable to pay the 30% it owes in PSS salaries from the last payroll.
“Rest assured that, as soon as funds are made available, PSS will immediately pay out the 30% owed to employees from last pay period and 100% of this pay period,” Ada told PSS staff.
According to a Marianas High School teacher who agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity, he doesn’t get paid that much already, contrary to what many assume since he is an educator, so with only 70% of his salary paid last payroll, his finances took a big hit. Now PSS won’t even be able to make the 70% payment this pay period.
“I find it an unfortunate circumstance that the locally funded employees of our PSS family will not be paid their due [today]. Personally, I don’t make much. In fact, my position’s hourly wage is not even close to $10 an hour. Last week, when I got my 70%, my biweekly salary really took a hard hit and it was really hard to come to terms with. I’m grateful, nonetheless, for the income I received but, honestly, it was quite disheartening,” he said.
He added that he, along with many of his colleagues that are on the same boat, are heartbroken but they are still determined to put the students of the CNMI first.
“With all the ongoing blaming and backlashes, I find myself trying to look for the justice deserved by our educators, who work day in and day out to ensure that our students are accommodated even in the midst of this crisis. So many of my colleagues are heartbroken. Our noble profession of being an educator is belittled, but know that this will not stop us. Students are still first, and they will always be first,” he said.
In related news, multiple teachers confirmed that the PSS administration held a staff meeting last Wednesday, informing locally funded PSS personnel that they would be be furloughed because PSS is unable to make payments due to the dwindling funds.
The furlough announcement was verbal and Ada has yet to respond to Saipan Tribune’s multiple attempts to contact him, as of 6pm press time yesterday.