Commissioner Ada signs injunction request

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COMMISSIONER on Education Dr. Alfred Ada has signed an injunction request that three of the five members of the Board of Education wanted him to file against the Torres administration.

Alfred Ada

Ada said he signed the injunction request on Friday, adding that it may be filed in court this Thursday.

In a letter to Board of Education Chairwoman Janice Tenorio on March 6, the commissioner said he signed the injunction request because majority of the BOE members voted for it.

“I support the majority decision because that is how democracy works,” he said.

Ada, together with Tenorio and BOE vice chairman Herman Atalig, was opposed to the filing of an injunction that aims to compel the cash-strapped central government to provide PSS with additional funding based on the CNMI Supreme Court’s slip opinion on the school system’s 25% share of the government’s annual revenues as mandated by the Constitution.

Apparently, BOE member Phillip Mendiola-Long earlier said, the commissioner “thinks [he] can just disregard the decision of the board and that there will be no repercussions.” The commissioner, he added, works for the board.

MaryLou Ada and Andrew Orsini are the other BOE members who want the commissioner to file the injunction.

Commissioner Ada said he signed the injunction request “to protect the interest of the students and their educational welfare.”

He added, “I am saddened by the economic crisis that we are encountering at the moment, but my passion for CNMI education [means that I have to] stand strong to protect the education of our students.”

The commissioner said he wants to “assure the school system that we will stand together to fulfill our duties as educators to mold the great minds of our future generation by providing optimum education for all.”

Last week, the BOE unanimously approved a 16-hour work reduction or a 20% pay cut for the over 1,000 employees of PSS. The austerity measure, which includes a four-day school week, will take effect on April 1.

Over 90% of the original fiscal year 2020 PSS budget was for payroll.

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