PSS salary hike plan questioned

Rep. Frank Aguon (R-Saipan) organizes his paperwork after the House Ways and Means Committee meeting, while minority leader Rep. Edmund Villagomez (Ind-Saipan) and Rep. Lorenzo Deleon Guerrero (Ind-Saipan) converse. (Erwin Encinares)

A lawmaker has reached out to the Public School System as well as the Board of Education to address concerns regarding reported disparities between instructors and administrative employees of the system.

Rep. Angel A. Demapan (R-Saipan) said yesterday that he has recently requested BOE chair Marylou Ada for a copy of the PSS salary increase plan after numerous reports have been circulating regarding the difference in increases on the administrative side compared to increases for the instructors.

According to Demapan, Rep. Edwin Aldan (R-Tinian), who also chairs the House Committee on Education, brought up the issue in yesterday’s House Ways and Means Committee meeting.

“…We have received calls from constituents; some of them are teachers who have been asking questions on the salary increases that PSS has implemented specifically for the administrators and administrative staff,” said Demapan.

He added that several teachers have reached out to the lawmakers on the issue.

“…The teachers are questioning the percentage increase wherein there may have been significant increase on the administrative side…that are far greater than what was implemented on the teacher’s side.”

Demapan specified that because of this, he personally requested for a copy of the salary compensation plan from BOE chairwoman Ada.

“[Ada] informed me that BOE is currently in the process of putting [the plan] together to submit to my office for the committee’s review,” he said.

The Ways and Means Committee in their last committee meeting adopted House Bill 20-147, which proposed to allocate a total of $12 million from the Casino Gross Revenue Tax to school facility repairs and upgrades, federal matching funds, purchase of instructional materials, employee health insurance, payment of loans, and other aspects of PSS.

While H.B. 20-147 did not include allocations for salary increases, Demapan said an amendment to the appropriation bill was not necessary.

“The appropriation we are providing for PSS is for other operational needs that they fell short of in the general fund budget,” he said, adding that a large bulk of the appropriation were for the purchasing of instructional materials, buses and vans, and more.

Erwin Encinares | Reporter
Erwin Charles Tan Encinares holds a bachelor’s degree from the Chiang Kai Shek College and has covered a wide spectrum of assignments for the Saipan Tribune. Encinares is the paper’s political reporter.

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