26 Jan 2009

Row in CNMI over removal of funds to fix primay school

12:17 pm on 26 January 2009

The Northern Marianas' Governor has rescinded the decision of the CNMI's Housing Corporation to approve funding for the renovation of a dilapidated school building.

The housing corporation had approved more than US$500,000 dollars for Gregorio Camacho Elementary.

But Governor Benigno Fitial has re-appropriated the money for a soccer field.

The Saipan Tribune reports the Education Board, has written to Governor Fitial, saying that while a soccer field does have certain benefits, it cannot see how a soccer field is more important than the safety of children sitting in termite-infested classrooms.

The Board's chair, Lucy Blanco-Maratita, says it's not fair to continue to expose children to such risks when there is an immediate solution readily available.

She added that the termite-infested classrooms continue to deteriorate, putting children's health and safety in peril.

The governor informed the board earlier that 1.2 million dollars was made available for school repair projects .

However the Board of Education says only 66,000 dollars was dedicated to fix the elementary school and yet the repairs cost 379,000 dollars.