PSS teachers study options

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Posted on Jun 11 2019

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Contrary to talks about holding a public protest or march, Public School System teachers secluded themselves yesterday at the Marianas High School cafeteria to discuss a recent Board of Education decision to slash previous salary hikes.

This was their second time to meet since last June 6, 2019.

Starting at about 4:45pm yesterday, several PSS teachers gathered at the MHS campus cafeteria to convene about the recent salary increase reductions that were imposed on all PSS employees, as approved by the Board of Education last June 5, 2019.

Organizers asked reporters to step out of the meeting to encourage the teachers to speak without “fear of being quoted in the media.”

Rep. Tina Sablan (Ind-Saipan) and former BOE chair Herman Guerrero were also spotted at the meeting.

About 40 PSS staff were present at the meeting when Saipan Tribune stepped out.

An unverified report of a teacher walkout for today was reportedly scheduled for discussion at the meeting. It was not confirmed, however, as of publication.

Earlier in the day, at about 3pm, a handful of teachers and private citizens lined the road at the Civic Center in Susupe, holding up signs stating, “WTF: Where’s the funds?” “Education 1st,” “Issue the subpoena now,” and, “Return illegal OT,” among other signs.

One PSS employee, who agreed to speak with Saipan Tribune last night on the condition of anonymity, was reportedly set to have his monthly salary slashed by 20 percent.

He questioned the BOE’s decision to implement a salary reduction instead of considering the possibility of a reduction in work hours.

“Why not cut work hours instead of our compensation? That way, those affected may look for alternate income opportunities to sustain their families and their obligations,” he said. “What are other [government agencies] doing? Some of them are cutting hours because of the austerity measures.”

“…If you have children, loans…Small Business Administration loans because of the recent typhoon and other financial factors, altogether that would impact our family greatly,” he added.

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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