PSS budget cut a ‘miscommunication’

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Posted on Jan 09 2020

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A reported request from the Office of the Governor to slash the Public School System’s budget by another 50% is now being characterized as a “miscommunication” between the central government and Education Commissioner Dr. Alfred Ada.

At the continuation of a meeting of the Board of Education’s Fiscal, Personnel and Administration Committee yesterday, Ada clarified that the request for the PSS budget reduction was actually just a “what if” scenario in case the economy will go awry.

“It was a miscommunication. They were asking us where would we reduce because our budget, 95% goes to personnel, so I was looking at our personnel salary,” he said.

The FPA committee unanimously voted yesterday to uphold the status quo and no salary deductions will be made.

Ada added that the idea to reinstate the compensation plan of 2016 was the only proactive contingency plan he could think up to keep PSS afloat in case they were required to reduce their budget by another 50%.

“The reduction was a proactive plan. We have to make sure that we have a cushion and be safe down the line, at least two or three paydays down the line. I don’t want to be the one to tell the staff, ‘Oh, we’re not getting paid this week because there is no money generated.’ Secretary of Finance David Atalig and Gov. Ralph DLG Torres assuring us that there would be no payless payday for PSS is a sigh of relief for me and for everybody,” he said.

Despite the miscommunication, Ada said that he is very happy to know that PSS has a plan in case the economy goes down.

“I’ve always believed in being proactive and making sure that we have a contingency plan in place. These scenarios are just in case it happens [so] there will be no surprise,” he said.

Ada said that after meeting with Atalig after the FPA committee meeting last Tuesday, things are looking up for PSS.

“…In terms of…all…obligations, we are now up to date. We are now in the second quarter and we are comfortable with the fact that everyone will be receiving their payroll on time,” he said.

Kimberly Bautista | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.

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