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Official: PSS employees received 70% of their salary on Saturday

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PUBLIC School System employees received 70 percent of their salary on Saturday, March 28. Their payday was supposed to be Friday, March 27.

“We are still working on [the rest of the employees’ salary],” Education Commissioner Dr. Alfred Ada told the Board of Education during its emergency special meeting on Saturday afternoon via videoconference.

For the pay period, PSS acting finance director Kimo Rosario said the school system had $727,000 only.

“We are still spending at $1.3 million level,” he added as he again reminded the board that the PSS budget revised in February left them with $14 million only to operate for the next eight months.

He said that amount “was further revised due to dwindling collections, leaving PSS practically with nothing.”

The monies they used for the employees’ salary came from PSS’ reserve funds, excess federal funds, funds from the Saipan and Northern Islands Legislative Delegation, and $250,000 from the central government that was secured by BOE Chairwoman Janice Tenorio. “That is how we paid our employees for this pay period,” Rosario said.

In a letter to Ada, Finance Secretary David Atalig said PSS will no longer receive allotments from the central government for the remainder of the fiscal year, which ends on Sept. 30, 2020.

In the same letter, dated March 20, 2020, Atalig told Ada that actual government collections as of Feb. 29, 2020 was $81,433,766.

After earmarks and debt service of $35 million, the available resource was $45.8 million. Of this amount, a total of $11.4 million or 25% was due PSS as required by the Constitution.

“To date, the Department of Finance has transferred a total amount of $10,911,459 to PSS, leaving a remainder of $544,282 of the total 25% of available revenues…as of Feb. 29, 2020. PSS has [also] encumbered approximately $2,379,149 in payments for [Group Life and Health Insurance] and Chapter 2 taxes,” Atalig stated.

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