SAIPAN – The Public School System "is out of money" because its "leadership used the increased budget to give themselves six-figure salaries" and "they lied to the voters and spent public money to do so," former Assistant Attorney General Charles E. Brasington said in an email Friday.
He also said the "PSS leadership is now forcing teachers to sign a contract surrendering their pay or face termination. Furthermore, over the past few months, PSS leadership has threatened to fire any teacher who talks to anyone outside of PSS, including attorneys."
Brasington added, "I don't need to tell you how massively illegal and unconstitutional this conduct is. This is also a flagrant violation of PSS leadership's fiduciary duty to the students and the taxpayers. PSS leadership violated federal and Commonwealth law by forcing employees to publicly support a political position and using public money to fund a political campaign to amend the Commonwealth Constitution. This is unacceptable; this needs to stop. Enough is enough is enough."
In a statement on Sunday, Education Commissioner Glenn Muna said the PSS leadership maintains a transparent approach to every decision it makes.
He said PSS continues to engage stakeholders in conversations and dialogue regarding students' education and the future of the school community.
Muna noted that for the last five years, the federally mandated audits validated PSS for its "strict adherence to the highest management of financial resources and strict accountability."
"The school district reassures everyone that we will engage in extensive consultation and do our due diligence to reach out to stakeholders including our teachers and parents, as well as our leaders in both the executive and legislative branches of government to find answers and solutions," he added.
In acknowledging the sentiments of teachers in recent decisions made by PSS, Muna appealed for everyone's support, understanding and patience.
He said the leadership honors the PSS employees' voice sand their right to speak.
"As your commissioner of education, I understand that the recent decisions have caused great discord and fear. While we struggled with the reality of an inadequate budget, decisions had to be made to avoid payless paydays. We have not, and will not stop trying to find every avenue to leverage resources to alleviate our burden. We are hopeful and confident that as one family we can pull through this together," Muna said.