OUTGOING CNMI OFFICIALS DENIED TRAVEL REQUEST

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By Moneth G. Deposa

Variety News Staff

Education Commissioner David M. Borja has turned down the travel request of three outgoing members of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) Board of Education, citing lack of funding.

Borja "regretfully" informed BOE Chairman Roman C. Benavente that the Public School System cannot certify the travel authorizations.

Benavente, along with BOE vice chairman Dino Jones and secretary Marja Lee Taitano, wanted to attend the 6th Annual International Conference in Hawaii slated for Jan. 5-8.

Their terms of office will end on Jan. 14.

Borja returned the travel authorizations, or TA, submitted to his office by the three outgoing members, saying that there have been numerous "concerns" regarding the trip.

Borja said although he knows that the board members will benefit from attending the conference, their "immediate departure" from the board after Jan. 14 "is a major concern" that has caught the public’s attention.

The TA documents submitted by the three outgoing BOE members covered an eight-day travel period beginning Jan. 3.

Registration for the conference is set for Jan. 4 and will cost each participant $440 while the roundtrip airfare will amount to $1,816 per individual.

Incoming BOE Chairwoman Lucy Blanco-Maratita and board member Herman T. Guerrero earlier asked Borja to reject the travel request, citing the dire financial situation of PSS.

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