The Public School System wants the House of Representatives to pass the $12-million supplemental budget from the casino business gross revenue tax that is earmarked for PSS.
A Senate session last Thursday resulted in amendments to the bill appropriating the supplemental budget to PSS. The measure was sent back to the House, causing further delay in the budget’s release.
Education Commissioner Glen Muña hopes the House will eventually pass the measure this week.
“We actually met with some of the representatives and we asked them if they can help expedite. From what I’ve heard, they are going to calendar it for [today],” he said.
“We [PSS] want to make sure that they pass it. …Right now, we have already identified our plans on how we are going to use the money and we are going to move forward with that. One of the major plans is to purchase 15 new buses for the third senatorial district—Saipan—and whatever is remaining we plan to order more buses,” he added.
Muña said that PSS has already identified its capital improvement projects and funding is the only thing lacking.
“We already have a list of how to take care of the funding for our capital improvement projects. I know one of the revisions that the Senate made was to give the Tinian Elementary School and Tinian Head Start the bulk of the money and the remaining will be applied to list of projects that we have identified,” he said.
“They (representatives) mentioned that they are going to identify the $3.7 million appropriated to PSS and that will go a long way,” he added.
Rep. Edwin K. Propst (Ind-Saipan) reiterated that, by law, 25 percent of the supplemental budget must go to PSS.
“Every time a supplemental budget comes in from the casino revenues, 25 percent should automatically go to PSS and then the 75 percent remaining should be apportioned and appropriated to whatever needs there are,” he said.
“We’ve got to make sure that we prioritize the students. The PSS slogan is ‘Students First.’ We always say that during campaign season but it should not only be during campaign season that we support that. This is our job and duty so we are going to be pushing to ensure that,” he added.