PSS back to Austerity Mondays

Tinian BOE rep Philip Mendiola-Long resigns
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Posted on Oct 21 2020

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The Public School System is back to observing Austerity Mondays, effective Nov. 2. Also, Tinian representative Philip Mendiola-Long resigned from the Board of Education effective Oct. 20.

The Board of Education voted yesterday to move back their austerity days from Friday back to Monday, ostensibly to comply with Public Law 21-35, or the Appropriations Act that was signed last Oct. 1, where Mondays were designated as “austerity days” of the CNMI government.

BOE vice chair Herman Atalig made a motion to revise the schools’ calendar to reflect austerity Mondays, in compliance with the law. Five of the BOE members voted yes but did not explain the reasoning behind the move.

Atalig stated that students, teachers, parents, need time to “feel confident” that going back to Austerity Mondays will be the BOE’s final decision. Soon after Gov. Ralph DLG Torres enacted the budget law that set austerity days on Mondays, the BOE voted to put the austerity days on Fridays as PSS had already set its calendar for the school year, with “Austerity Fridays” already built into the calendar. Yesterday’s vote reverts PSS back to “Austerity Mondays.”

According to Education Commissioner Dr. Alfred Ada, school-level personnel have already called parents to inform them about the change to Austerity Mondays.

During the decision to vote if they should go back to Austerity Mondays, Mendiola-Long pleaded with the members that teachers have reached out to him expressing how they were upset that they needed to readjust and embrace the adjustment of the 2020-2021 school year calendar.

In the span of a few months, teachers have had to redo their calendar, lesson plans, etc. in order for students to not be deprived of instructional time. Now, with the five votes of yes, teachers will have to go back and adjust their calendars again, Mendiola-Long said. On behalf of the teachers and staff, Mendiola-Long asked the board to not flip-flop on the decision once it has already been made due to planning purposes.

Mendiola-Long announced his resignation during the executive session of the special BOE meeting, leaving only the board with only four members until Gov. Ralph DLG Torres appoints a replacement.

BOE chair Janice Tenorio stated that Mendiola-Long resigned not just as the Tinian representative but also his chairmanship of the Capital Improvement Project Committee, and vice chairmanship of the ISA Committee. Tenorio confirmed that they will be asking Torres to appoint a Tinian representative.

BOE will be having a regular board meeting on Oct. 30 at 9am.

Justine Nauta
Justine Nauta is Saipan Tribune's community and health reporter and has covered a wide range of news beats, including the Northern Marianas College and Commonwealth Health Care Corp. She's currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Rehabilitation and Human Services at NMC.

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