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PSS receives $34.4 million in federal grants in FY 2012

The Commonwealth’s public schools received a total of $34.4 million in grants from federal agencies this fiscal year 2012, according to CNMI Public School System federal programs officer Tim Thornburgh.

Of that amount, $4.8 million is still not obligated as of July 13 and will be used for the fourth quarter of this fiscal year, Thornburgh said. Total expenditures, he added, amount to $27.2 million so far.

In his report to the Board of Education, Thornburgh also announced the availability of funding for school breakfast and meals program and salaries for federally funded personnel. Federal grants pay the wages of about 300 public school employees.

He assured that PSS is consistent in its drawdown of federal monies.

Saipan Tribune learned that the $34.4 million federal assistance came from various granting agencies like the U.S. Department of Education for specific programs and purposes, including the annual consolidated grant, the Nutrition Assistance Program grant for special education, and the Head Start program, among others.

Grant application

On Wednesday, the Education Board approved the submission of an $8.4 million consolidated grant application for fiscal year 2013. This is one of the regular grant awards that PSS gets every year.

PSS applies for this grant to achieve its goal of seeing its students scoring at the 50th percentile or higher on the SAT-10; seeing 80 percent of students reading at or above their grade level; and for 90 percent of students to score at proficient or above on the standard-based assessment in 2014.

Thornburgh said the grant amount is based on the CNMI’s 2010 Census data and would be revised once new data becomes available. Thornburgh said this assurance was promised to PSS by the U.S. Education Department, which will also revise the awards for all insular areas.

The following are the areas to be funded under the $8.4 million grant application: funds reserved for Title I Part A LEA activities ($6.4 million); funds reserved for teacher recruitment, retention, and rewards ($100,000); educational technology ($1.3 million); teacher professional development ($164,000); and funds reserved for parental involvement ($62,000).

PSS will use $5.5 million for programs at public schools while private schools will be given $834,148.

PSS was appropriated by the local government only $30 million this fiscal year, of which $28 million will be used to pay for personnel salary while $2 million will go to operation and all others.

Thornburgh earlier said that federal monies greatly help the school system because it supplements the funding shortage in the local budget.

By Moneth Deposa

Moneth G. Deposa | Reporter

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