BOE member: PSS entitled to more than $15M

BOARD of Education member Herman T. Guerrero said under the CNMI Constitution, the Public School System is entitled to more than a $15 million supplemental budget.

He said $15 million is the “base,” but “it does not mean that that’s it.”

Herman T. Guerrero

He added, “Sometimes the legislators think that it is all we are entitled to. No. It’s just to guarantee funding for PSS of no less than 25 percent of the annual government revenue. They can give us more.”

But Guerrero said legislators are reluctant to give PSS more than 25 percent. “You need to look into what is really needed by the schools so you can improve student learning and provide better education for our kids — that’s the way it should be.”

According to Guerrero, the CNMI government is the school system’s sole source of local funding.

“Schools in the states are usually funded through property taxes. All the property taxes collected are exclusively for education,” he said. “We don’t have property taxes over here and we won’t have them unless voters approve.”

PSS requested a $15 million supplemental budget, according to Rep. Angel Demapan who has introduced House Bill 20-147 which will appropriate $24 million in Saipan casino tax payments.

Of this amount, he said $12 million will go to PSS which, he added, will get an additional $3 million in the “next round.”

“We are expecting more collections and more supplemental revenues throughout the fiscal year,” Demapan said.

Source: Marianas Variety :

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