Saipan-- The CNMI's Public School System may now use $23.2 million in federal assistance under the The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which the U.S. Department of Education has remitted. However, Rep. Gregorio Kilili Sablan, the CNMI's delegate to Congress, said the education system could use more.
Sablan said he is not completely satisfied with how the Department of Education handled the CARES Act funding for island schools. “Instead of giving all the money to help teachers and students, the Trump administration decided to carve off $4.8 million for Gov. (Ralph) Torres,” Sablan said.
Other island governors also got a special set-aside from the department. “As I wrote Governor Torres on May 5, I think he should turn over all that money to schools in the Marianas and make PSS whole.”
The Commonwealth budgeted $37.7 million for PSS in the FY 2020 Appropriations Act. Only $11.9 million has been conveyed to the school system, however, leaving a balance of $25.8 million.
The CARES Act funding of $23.2 million for PSS covers most of that balance, but there is still a remaining $2.6 million needed to meet the Commonwealth’s original commitment to teachers, staff, and students.