Wage hike skips 97 PSS instructors

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About 10 percent of CNMI public school instructors did not get the salary increases they were supposed to get under the compensation plan the Board of Education adopted back in October 2017.

The news stunned the entire board during its meeting yesterday.

Lucretia Borja, the PSS Human Resources director, told the board that about 97 individuals from about 1,000 PSS instructors were excluded from the compensation pay that the board adopted at the October 2017 board meeting.

Borja’s report stated that the pay of the 97 instructors remain frozen, while the rest of the instructors saw an increase in their salaries this fiscal year.

That’s because the 97 instructors are not certified, and therefore did not meet the requirement for the salary increase.

Despite this, upon learning the news, Board of Education vice chair Alice Tenorio said the remaining instructors should still receive the increase they were promised.

She went as far as holding back on voting for an alternative certification process (the alternative certification process repeals the need for a Praxis 1 test to become a certified instructor) until it was confirmed that the 97 uncompensated instructors would benefit from it.

PSS instructors, certified or not, have not seen a raise in salaries since 1992.

Tenorio told other board members that it was not fair to penalize the 97 instructors and “rob them of their compensation pay” just because of their lack of certification when they have been working for PSS for nearly a decade.

Although Tenorio also voted to approve the compensation plan back in October, she stated during yesterday’s board meeting that she was under the impression that it was a blanket increase, meaning that it applied to every instructor regardless of their credentials. Tenorio said she was not made aware until yesterday that only certified instructors were qualified for the compensation increase.

To resolve the issue, the board unanimously adopted the alternative certification process that would apply to new PSS applicants and could be applied to the remaining 97 instructors. Once the 97 instructors pass the alternative certification and are certified, they will be given a higher pay rate.

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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