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PSS looks forward to additional federal funding assistance

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THE Public School System should manage very carefully its share of the federal education stabilization fund until another federal funding  measure is approved, PSS federal programs manager Tim Thornburgh told the Board of Education on Friday.

The U.S. House of Representatives, which is controlled by the Democrats, passed the  $3 trillion Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions or HEROES Act in May, but the bill remains pending in the Republican controlled U.S. Senate.

Thornburgh said one of the components of the HEROES Act is a $105 billion allocation for the education stabilization fund.

He said U.S. Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan believes that the HEROES Act will be enacted, “but it is a question of when.”

If the Republicans and Democrats in the nation’s capital remain deadlocked, then “after next week it’s going to be problematic because everybody’s going to be leaving D.C. and going on the campaign trail,” Thornburgh said.

“So what we have to do is manage very carefully our education stabilization funds,” he added.

He said PSS is hoping to receive at least $40 million from the HEROES Act, which may be reintroduced in the new Congress and enacted sometime in February.

Federal funds “will enable us to bridge the gap between reduced local funding and what we need for the next two years,” he added.

In May 2020, PSS received $23.1 million in education stabilization funds through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security or CARES Act.

Of the $23.1 million, PSS used $6.9 million to “update” its personnel payroll; $4.8 million was allotted for the summer pay of teachers and teacher aides; $2.1 million was allocated for PSS employees’ Group  Health and Life Insurance from January to April; $1.2 million for Chapter 2 taxes from January to March; and $924,445 for utilities from January to July.

To implement Covid-19 safety measures, PSS budgeted $20,400 to procure 255 pieces of Wand thermometers; $300,000 for hiring nurses or a healthcare team; $450,000 for school sanitization; about $1 million for 5,000 Chromebooks; and about $900,000 for 3,000 units of MiFi (mobile broadband routers).

In addition, PSS apportioned $1.3 million for the online training of teachers and $350,000 for procuring two buses — one each for Tinian and Rota. 

November 2020 pssnewsletter

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