‘Rota benefits from supplemental budget’

Posted on Jan 26 2017

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Rota is going to benefit from the supplemental funding that has been allotted to the two schools on the southernmost island of the CNMI, according to Education Commissioner Cynthia Deleon Guerrero.

Both Sinapalo Elementary School and Dr. Rita Hocog Inos Jr. Sr. High School would each get $150,000 as allocated under Public Law 19-75, a law that provides an additional budget to various government agencies.

The Public School System received a total of about $10 million in additional funding, in which a total of $300,000 went to Rota.

In Guerrero’s visit to Rota last Jan 13-15, she was able to meet with Mayor Efren Atalig, Sen. Teresita Santos, Sen. Justo Quitugua, Sen. Steve Mesngon, as well as Municipal Council members, resident directors of Rota, and the schools’ leadership.

Her trip to Rota resulted in a project priority list to target the problems of the two schools.

“Various concerns primarily on instructional materials, facilities, and campus maintenance was discussed and the team addressed all the concerns that were raised,” said Deleon Guerrero.

The list was divided into three parts, each addressing what project to be prioritized for each school, and another to address common problems of both schools.

PSS plans to build student benches for SES, along with repairs and/or replacement of school walls and leaks at the SES library.

PSS also plans to install window shutters for the library to protect the books and other technological equipment in the library.

For RHI, PSS plans to pave the road and parking as well as repair damaged fencing and air conditioning.

Doors and windows of classrooms will be replaced.

“I wanted to note that we tried to open one of the doors, and the door nearly collapsed on us,” Deleon Guerrero told the Board of Education at their last meeting. “That is how much it needs repairs.”

Deleon Guerrero also cited numerous safety hazards on the priority list, such as the damaged concrete of the cafeteria building that has exposed rebars; the removal and replacement of the old concrete pathway that is cracked and unstable but is located in the middle of the campus; and the assessment of the second floor of the cafeteria building to ensure safety of the floor before continued use is permitted.

According to Deleon Guerrero, a teacher has been allowed to use the second floor of the cafeteria by the RHI interim principal at the time because the Office of Insular Affairs’ did not flag it as hazardous in their previous visit.

Deleon Guerrero requested the teacher to use another classroom until further notice, as the second floor’s stability was still unclear.

BOE member Herman Guerrero agreed with the move, saying, “Safety of the children is paramount.”

Also targeted for RHI is the renovation of its parking and pathway for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

PSS plans to purchase a truck for the RHI custodian, who continues to use his personal vehicle for waste disposal.

Both RHI and SES would have a flagpole and flag base to indicate which side of each school is the entrance as well as the purchase of a tractor and yard maintenance equipment for each school.

Rota, like Tinian, is also set for an increase in bandwidth and the acquisition of necessary equipment to increase connectivity.

“We acknowledge the total of $300,000 is not sufficient but we continue to work with the leadership to identify further funding sources,” said Deleon Guerrero.

Newly sworn in BOE member and Rota representative Herman Atalig was happy that Rota is finally receiving some attention.

“The commissioner [Deleon Guerrero] is very sincere in trying to look after the welfare of the students and the condition of the facilities,” said Atalig. “I commend her because she shows that she truly cares for the students. I believe that in her heart, mind, and actions that she is for the students. I can see she is very sincere, and I thank her so much.”

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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