THE Public School System is waiting for the U.S. Department of Education's approval of the PSS expenditure plan for the $160 million Education Stabilization Fund provided through the American Rescue Plan Act.
Education Commissioner Alfred B. Ada said in an interview that as in the past when PSS was allotted federal funding, it has to submit an expenditure plan to the USDOE for approval. He said they submitted the spending plan on July 9.
The commissioner said he is confident the federal agency will approve the plan, and PSS expects to hear from USDOE next week.
Ada said the ARPA funds for PSS are considered the third round of the Education Stabilization Fund or ESF, and will have to be spent on measures and services to address the impact of Covid-19 on CNMI education.
These include efforts to address learning loss and programs for social-emotional learning.
Ada said they will also use the ESF-ARPA funds to hire four certified nurses for health screening at all school levels.
The ESF-ARPA funds will likewise allow PSS to provide schools with the necessary technology and equipment to conduct virtual learning.
Ada said PSS will make sure that every student has a laptop and a MiFi device.
Moreover, he said, the ESF-ARPA funds will allow PSS to hire teachers to fill the positions that were vacated due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
PSS will resume the five days a week classes and provide more professional development and training for teachers and parents, Ada said.
PSS earlier received the first and second rounds of ESF in the amount of $23 million and $61.7 million, respectively.
The second round of ESF provided students with laptops, but there is still $40 million left to be spent.