Payless payday for CNMI public school system

There is no payroll for the CNMI Public School System's 866 locally funded employees.

CNMI Education Commissioner Dr. Alfred Ada on Thursday issued a memorandum informing the Public School System’s 866 locally funded employees that there is no funding for their payroll.

Ada said he was delivering the news with a “heavy heart” and added that “as soon as funds are available,” PSS will “immediately pay out the 30% …owed to employees from the last pay period and 100% [to cover] this pay period.”

PSS acting finance director Kimo Rosario said the school system owes its employees $1.9 million and is hoping to receive federal funds, including from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, as soon as possible.

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During a recent Board of Education meeting, Commissioner Ada said a furlough was a possibility for PSS’ 866 locally funded employees.

The furlough was supported by many teachers who noted that under the federal Pandemic Underemployment Assistance, each furloughed employee will receive more than their PSS pay rate which is based on a 32-hour work period per week. “I believe that furloughs should start as soon as possible,” one of the teachers said. “PUA as defined in congressional legislation will be retroactive.”