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Last updateSat, 16 Dec 2017 12am

     

     

     

     

     

    Saturday, December 16, 2017-1:58:48A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Rep. Dela Cruz asks Ways and Means chair to ‘expedite’ PSS funding

REPRESENTATIVE Frank Dela Cruz has asked Rep. Angel Demapan, chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, to expedite the allotment of the Public School System’s mandated funding level which is 25 percent of the government’s general revenues.

In the House session last week, Board of Education member Herman T. Guerrero accused lawmakers of “playing games” for not giving PSS the 25 percent it is entitled to under the CNMI Constitution.

“I agree with Mr. Guerrero — we need to give PSS the 25 percent [so] I ask the chair of Ways and Means to expedite these payments to PSS,” Dela Cruz said.

He noted that the government has been seeing an increase in government resources, most especially from the Saipan casino tax.

“So let us not wait,” he said. “We need to work together and we must immediately set aside this 25 percent before taking care of other obligations.”

Speaker Ralph Demapan said the House will fund PSS accordingly once the governor identifies a new revenue source.

Rep. Angel Demapan said he has discussed the issue with PSS, which he said may get additional $15 million if all the new revenues are quantified and identified.

This amount, he said, is on top of the school system’s $36 million annual budget.

Demapan said the appropriation for the 25 percent for PSS was delayed because they had to prioritize the payments for the Settlement Fund and land judgments that had court-ordered deadlines.