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PSS to get $5M more in FY 2021 local funds, says Finance chief

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THE Public School System will receive $5 million more local funds this fiscal year than it did in FY 2020, Finance Secretary David DLG Atalig said.

Public Law 21-35, or the FY 2021 Appropriation Act, allocates $24.1 million for PSS, which received $19 million in FY 2020.

PSS was originally allotted $37 million in FY 2020, but the CNMI government revenue collection plummeted as a result of the economic downturn caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

PSS, however, did not implement austerity measures until mid-April.

Consequently, PSS was unable to meet 30% of payroll for pay period No. 7 in May and subsequently faced payless Fridays for pay period Nos. 8 to 10.

PSS furloughed 713 of its locally funded employees shortly thereafter.

For FY 2021, PSS also stands to receive a total of $74 million from the federal government, PSS federal programs officer Tim Thornburg said.

He said $49 million of the amount will come from the formula grants with a two-year expenditure period while the $25 million is the amount that was “carried forward” from the previous year funding.

Atalig said thanks to federal monies, PSS should have more than enough even when it recalled its furloughed employees.

“I believe PSS is funded fairly considering we are [expecting to collect] the same [amount of] annual resources as last fiscal year’s adjusted budget,” Atalig said.

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