8 Oct 2007

American Samoa government says teachers' pay bill dumped for lack of money

3:27 pm on 8 October 2007

A bill to increase the salaries of teachers in American Samoa has not been passed because of insufficient funding.

The Chairman of the Budget Committee, Laolagi Fonoti, says the government would need an additional seven to eleven million dollars a year to fund the salary increases.

Laolagi says there are existing excise taxes but they have been committed to other government operations.

He says while the Department of Education has said that federal grants would be able to pay part of the salaries, there's no guarantee that the funding will be made available every year.

The bill will be carried through to the next Fono session in January.

Meanwhile, a planned teachers strike will go ahead.

The President of the watchdog group, Common Cause, Ben Te'o says the teachers strike over pay, planned for next Tuesday, will go ahead.