The Public School System eagerly awaits the Senate to adopt the $12-million supplemental budget that the House Ways & Means Committee set aside last December to meet the needs of PSS.
Once the Senate does that, this would give PSS the $12 million it needs to proceed with its plans for 2018, said Board of Education chair Marylou S. Ada. That includes fixing PSS infrastructure, buying more books, and keeping up with the latest technology.
“Everybody have their iPads but we have to increase our bandwidth and accessibility to WiFi and those requires a lot of money,” she said.
In an earlier interview, Rep. Angel Demapan (R-Saipan) said the House of Representatives has set aside $15 million in the supplemental budget for PSS in compliance with the constitutional mandate that 25 percent of general fund must go to PSS.
“When they [BOE] submitted their listing, there was a total of $15 million but they came forward stating that their immediate need and highest priority amounted to $12 million. So we reached that understanding…because this is the first [business gross revenue tax] for fiscal year 2017,” he said.
“We are expecting more collection and supplemental revenues throughout the fiscal year,” he said. That would mean giving PSS the remaining $3 million in the next round.
Ada said the budget is a serious concern for PSS. “Our mission is to prepare students to be college-bound, career-ready, and be contributing members of society. Since government officials and business leaders are in Washington, D.C. [talking] about the [need to develop the local] workforce, I think PSS is doing a great job in producing good high school students that will eventually join the workforce as they have the skills and resources that they can use and contribute to be employed,” she said.
“The profile of our high school graduates are first, one wants to go to college; two, one wants to get a job here; and three, one wants to continue to be a nurse, enforcement officer, establishing a small business here at home. PSS’ intent is whatever type of profile they want to be or pursue, they are contributing greatly to our community,” Ada said.