FOLLOWING SUPREME COURT RULING

PSS wants $3M more a month

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Posted on Jan 17 2020

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The Public School System is asking for an additional allotment of $3 million from the central government following the Supreme Court’s response to the question of what constitutes general revenue.

Moving forward after the Supreme Court ruling last Tuesday, Marylou Ada, former Board of Education chairwoman and current board member, said they are working on requesting the 25% that PSS is owed, starting off with an additional $3 million monthly allotment to reopen schools and to get back on track since the onslaught of Super Typhoon Yutu back in 2018.

“[The government] owes us for all the 25% but we want to really move forward and just get what we immediately need to open up the schools, repair, get the books, get the gas, and everything to get the schools running safely and in an environmentally-friendly environment. That’s our main concern,” she said.

Ada elaborated that the monthly allotment of $3 million would go to gas for student transportation, personnel salary, classroom repairs, and other operational costs. This would also allow PSS to retract the 50% salary cut that was implemented back in July 2019.

However, just because PSS is only asking for an additional $3 million now doesn’t mean that that’s it. Ada said they would revisit negotiations once the government is back on its feet and that PSS is owed more than just $3 million.

“Once everything is done, and everything has died down, then we can go back to the negotiating table and look at the figures and what they owe us because to immediately give them a bill saying, ‘You owe us this much,’ it’s going to collapse the government,” she said.

Ada said the BOE wants to work with the government by working out a way for PSS to get what it is owed without the government having to reduce the budget for other government entities.
“We don’t want to be greedy. We know that the case is on our side, but our main concern now…is to really get back to the schools and give the teachers the needed raise, give back what’s due to them, and to really become functional [again] like we were four years ago,” she said.
Ada said PSS is in dire need of the additional $3 million because they are operating at a bare minimum and PSS is barely staying afloat.

“The cost of running the schools have increased, but our allotments have not increased; it has decreased, so we’re really running on bare minimum. That was the whole essence of trying to get the rightful budget and that’s why we went and got a constitutional amendment to guarantee 25% to PSS because we cannot continue to go there and continue to beg for money,” she said.

Kimberly Bautista | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.

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