Gov. Eloy S. Inos signed into law Wednesday a bill that paves the way for the election of a teacher representative on the CNMI State Board of Education. The board had been pushing relentlessly for years to have a teacher rep on board and had asked Inos to appoint one via executive order.
However, the NMI Constitution mandates that the appointment process of the teacher representative be set up by the Legislature. That finally got done Wednesday, with Senate Bill 19-03 now becoming Public Law 19-7.
Inos, for his part, said he was happy the Public School System had a “champion in the Legislature,” referring to Quitugua.
Board of Education member Denise King, who was present at the bill’s signing, thanked the governor for providing a “voice” for teachers on the board.
“They are in the trenches,” King said, referring to PSS teachers. “They know better than we do” and are the “missing link” to find out the issues that teachers are facing throughout the Public School System.
The bill sets up a general election for the teacher representative during the first week of October each year. Only teachers are eligible to be a candidate and only teachers are eligible to vote for one candidate on the ballot.
A runoff election will be held during the first week of November for the two candidates who received the highest number of votes. In the event of a tie, the runoff election will be repeated until a majority vote is won.
The PSS education commissioner will then submit the name of the teacher with highest votes to the CNMI governor, who will then make the appointment to the board.