Governor allocates $4.7M for college

MEETING: Gov. Ralph Torres, Lt. Gov. Arnold Palacios and Finance Secretary David Atalig on Tuesday meet with Northern Marianas College Interim President Frankie Eliptico, NMC Board of Regents Chairman Charles Cepeda and other college officials. Lori Lyn C. Lirio/For The Guam Daily Post

SAIPAN — Gov. Ralph Torres on Tuesday allocated the $4.7 million Governor's Emergency Education Relief Fund provided by the CARES Act to Northern Marianas College so it can continue its academic and workforce programs and services.

Through the CARES Act, the CNMI received more than $27 million in Education Stabilization Funds, which include the Governor's Emergency Education Relief Fund.

Of the $27 million, the Public School System will receive over $23 million.

Torres, Lt. Gov. Arnold Palacios, and Finance Secretary David Atalig on Tuesday met with NMC Interim President Frankie Eliptico, Board of Regents Chairman Charles Cepeda and regent Irene Torres at the college. Other NMC officials and employees joined the meeting online.

"After much discussion and after much review of the guidelines of that grant, the governor has decided to allocate the full amount of the GEER to NMC," Atalig told the NMC leaders, referring to the Governor's Emergency Education Relief Fund provided by the CARES Act.

Eliptico thanked Torres and Palacios for the allotment. The past few months had been difficult for NMC and for the whole CNMI, Eliptico said.

"We have been meeting about furloughs and other severe austerity measures. We have been talking about work-hour cuts," he added. "Last year, the college was one of the first agencies to implement austerity before anybody else in the commonwealth. And we continued those austerity efforts this year, including work-hour reductions, which currently are in place. We are a part of this whole community and it is not just us who need funds."