• Bias in funding teachers’ allowances, perks scored

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    EDUCATION Secretary Leonor Briones on Friday described as “unfair” the rule that only some local government units (LGUs) can tap their general fund in giving public school teachers whom they hire additional allowances or honoraria or both.

    Briones noted that the LGUs can legally draw from the general fund for such perks but not from the special educational fund, which can be used only for school improvements.

    But, according to her, there are local government units that are unable to grant additional allowances or honoraria or both because there is no allocation for the two items in their general fund.

    “You can see the unfairness of it all especially if you are teaching in a far-off municipality where they cannot give [additional allowances],” Briones said.

    The special education fund is sourced from the 1 percent levy on the assessed value of real property.

    The Education department has been receiving reports that several LGUs have already received an audit memorandum on disallowance of use of the special education fund for giving the additional allowances to teachers.

    Bonuses previously granted through the special education fund by local government units are only part of the additional compensation that public school teachers take home on top of their basic salary.

    Under the Salary Standardization Law 4, an entry-level public school teacher, or Teacher 1, receives a basic monthly pay of P19,077 within the first tranche, which could amount to P24,000, including bonuses.

    A starting teacher in a small provincial private school gets a mere P6,000 on average.

    In public schools, the basic monthly pay can go as high as P24,141 for a Head Teacher 1; P33,452 for a Master Teacher 1; and P36,409 for a School Principal 1.

    NEIL A. ALCOBER

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