The Public School System is in the process of retiring a deficit of $1,827,802 this fiscal year in preparation for the upcoming school year and fiscal year.
During a special Board of Education meeting last Friday, PSS acting director of Finance Kimo Rosario reported that PSS’ current mission is retiring this fiscal year’s deficit that they have accrued and use any left-over funding to prepare for school year 2020-2021.
Rosario added that any leftover funding that PSS has after retiring their debt will cushion their budget for next fiscal year because PSS expects a significantly lower budget compared to previous years.
“[We plan] to carry forward all those proceeds until next fiscal year to augment the subsequent fiscal year budget and mitigate a financial impact of either a $19 million or $16 million budget that will be approved for PSS next fiscal year,” he said.
To date, PSS has retired their debt with teachers and staff for pay period 9 and 10, which totaled $647,623.19. PSS has also retired $233,882.18 it owed its contractors for various projects. The money used to pay off debt to contractors, Rosario explained, was from the appropriation from the Saipan and Northern Islands Legislative Delegation under Saipan Local Law 20-10.
As of Dec. 31, 2019, Rosario said, the Department of Finance has transferred to PSS $485,000 of the $745,000 appropriation under Saipan Local Law 21-10. Of the $485,000, $250,000 was allocated to Hopwood Middle School, $150,000 was allocated to William S. Reyes Elementary School, and the remaining $85,000 to all remaining schools covered by the law.
“To date, $233,882.18 has been expended and fully paid. We don’t owe any contractors, thereby keeping a balance of $251,167.82 in the bank. The CNMI government, through the Department of Finance, has yet to transfer $260,000 to complete the $745,000 appropriation,” he said.
PSS is still working on retiring outstanding local accounts payable totaling $946,297.06 with its Office of Federal Programs.
“Currently, our office is working with the Federal Programs Office on retiring local account payables, which now stands at $946,297.06. Once we settle this debt, PSS will effectively retire its deficit for this fiscal year,” he said.
PSS has also paid off outstanding utility billings that totaled $723,828.31.
Additionally, PSS has also fully settled its Group Health Life Insurance and withholding tax debt with the CNMI government totaling $3.6 million, $2.2 million for life insurance, and the remaining $1.4 million for Chapter 2 and Chapter 7 taxes.
“Because we were able to settle this debt with the government, the government will then resume allotments based on the most recent revised budget, which is roughly over $400,000 biweekly. Total savings if we maintain furlough would be $3.9 million that we can use for next fiscal year,” he said.