Teachers, community members stage protest

WHERE'S THE FUNDS: Francisco M. Sablan Middle School teacher Alex Borja and other educators hold signs during a protest on Beach Road at the Civic Center in Susupe on Monday.

SAIPAN – More than a dozen teachers and community members staged a protest at the Civic Center in Susupe on Monday afternoon to demand "government transparency."

Rep. Tina Sablan was among those who joined the protesters. She said the pay cut imposed on Public School System personnel is a communitywide issue affecting many families and children.

"I appreciate and fully support their cause for more transparency," she added.

Francisco M. Sablan Middle School teacher Alex Borja said the "root problem was that the central government does not disburse money to PSS."

"They don't communicate why and give documentation. They just say there's financial emergency, but they don't share how much money we have. It is just a very blank statement," Borja said. "We need the central government to turn over their financial records."

Borja said a "third party" should verify the claims of the central government regarding the commonwealth's financial status.

"If we see there is no money, then we have to ask why."

But Borja said he does not consider PSS management as the enemy.

"I know we have a lot of issues to talk about, but we have to look at the root issues and the reason why PSS is in this position to begin with."

'Working on finding solutions'

After the protest ended at 4:30 p.m., the protesters proceeded to the Marianas High School cafeteria, where they discussed their "action plan."

"We are working on finding solutions, but it does not mean that we can't try and wake up people to the fact that there is a problem," Borja said.