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BOE, PSS want to borrow $5 million from MPLT

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BOARD of Education Chairwoman Janice Tenorio and Education Commissioner Dr. Alfred Ada have asked the Marianas Public Land Trust to lend $5 million to the Public School System for a term of 90 days.


In a letter dated March 27, 2020, Tenorio and Ada told MPLT Chairman Martin B. Ada that “PSS has been beset with financial difficulties in the past but the impact from the threat of Covid-19 to our school district has been immediate and outright, it crippled and immediately prevented PSS to perform and render services and programs to all of our stakeholders on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota.”
They said public school classes have been suspended for the remainder of School Year 2019-2020, affecting over 10,000 public elementary, middle and high school students on all of 20 campuses, including 10 Head Start and Early Head Start centers, and Early Intervention and Special Education programs.
But they also said that the offices of U.S. Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan and Gov. Ralph DLG Torres have informed PSS that it is one of the recipients of direct funding assistance from the $2 trillion CARES Act.
PSS is guaranteed a $10 million in financial aid under the federal law, but Ada and Tenorio said the process will take some time. “This is owing to the lengthy process and procedures of fund distribution, awards, and disbursements, among others,” they added.
They said PSS’ loan will be “guaranteed” by its confirmed $10 million share from the federal Education Stabilization Fund under the Covid-19 economic stimulus aid.
They added that the BOE and PSS are willing to execute a memorandum of agreement with MPLT to ensure that PSS meets all of the terms of its 90-day loan proposal.
“With MPLT’s immediate granting of approval to this proposal, it will ensure and guarantee that PSS is able to move forward and re-start programs and services during this particularly challenging and difficult period,” Tenorio and Ada stated.
In July 2019, the Legislature passed a bill which the governor signed into law, P.L. 21-3, authorizing the government to borrow $15 million from MPLT. This loan will be paid by future income due to the government’s General Fund. Instead of MPLT remitting the interest due to the General Fund on an annual basis, the interest will remain in MPLT’s investment portfolio as additional capital infusion.
Asked about the status of the central government’s loan, MPLT Chairman Martin Ada told Variety on Monday, “Yes. The government has made a payment,” referring to the $1.5 million public land lease interest earned in December. “The interest was supposed to go to the government’s General Fund, but under the loan agreement, MPLT will keep that amount and future amounts.” (With Emmanuel T. Erediano)

November 2020 pssnewsletter

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