By Lori Lyn Lirio
THE Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands Public School System is in a sound financial footing.
According to Burger, Comer, Magliari LLC (BCM) accounting partner David Burger, the PSS has strong financial statement for FY2016-2017.
In his recent presentation at the Board of Education, Burger said the increase in supplemental appropriations from the CNMI government and federal grants helped the PSS achieved such status. The PSS, for FY 2016-2017, received supplemental appropriations of US$10 million. It allowed the PSS to spend more on constructions of facilities.
“CNMI government appropriations and federal grants were up and that helped everything,” Burger said in an interview.
“They spent mostly on student and support services and they still have cash,” he said.
The PSS does not have loans, Burger noted, and the only liability they have is compensated absences which is annual leave and sick leave of about US$3 million. He also observed that the PSS has been current on payment with the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. (CUC).
In the past years, the PSS had accumulated money of about US$8 million.
Burger said the PSS had an appropriation that allowed them to clear their CUC balance.
BCM has a three-year contract with the PSS to do auditing. This is their final year.
In an interview with BOE Chairwoman MaryLou S. Ada, she said they were very careful in spending the money.
“We have come a long way, especially with the receivables of travel.”
She said they have to write off travels, especially the ones that were not obligated.
“They [PSS] were closing their travel authorizations sometimes because that was the big problem before.”
They found out that there were 30 to 40 travels done in the past.
“It is now down to five,” she said, adding that the travels they canceled were all minors and not obligatory.
Ada said the PSS has US$76 million current assets and its liability is $3 million.
“In essence, our financial position is very strong. We can go out and borrow money. The federal government or grant agency will say we are really managing our money. It is a clean audit,” she said.
It also helped when the federal grantor allowed them to carry over [the balance] the next fiscal year, she said, adding that they also received a total federal grant of US$48.9 million for food services, JROTC, special education.