|Reference No. (2019-08-25)
|FOR :||THE HONORABLE CITY MAYORS
|FROM :||Atty. Shereen Gail C. Yu-Pamintuan
|RE :||Request for Inputs on LCP's Appeal to Expand the Allowed Items under the SEF
|DATE:||20 August 2019|
During the 68th National Executive Board meeting, it was unanimously agreed that the LCP will issue a formal appeal to expand the coverage of the Special Education Fund (SEF), allowing local governments to respond more effectively to the distinctive educational needs of their constituents. Under the law, the SEF was created to augment the annual funds coming from the Department of Education for the operation and maintenance of public schools.
In 2013, LCP conducted formal research to bolster its policy stance favoring the expansion of membership of the Local School Board (LSB) as well as the purpose and application of the SEF. While amendments to the membership and functions of the LSB have yet to take place, the Department of Education, Department of Budget and Management, and the Department of the Interior and Local Government have released Joint Circular (JC) No. 1 s. 2017 updating the guidelines on the utilization of SEF. More than half of the budget items recommended by LCP to be covered under the SEF was adopted in the said circular:
LCP Recommendations Adopted in the Joint Circular
a. Acquisition of school sites
b. Computer software and hardware and other related equipment/facilities
c. Repair and maintenance of school-related equipment and facilities
d. Payment of utility fees
e. Payment of salaries/benefits of teaching and non-teaching personnel
LCP Recommendations NOT Adopted in the Joint Circular
a. Nutrition/Feeding programs
b. Transportation needs
c. Additional administrative personnel
d. Health and Medical Benefits
The partial adoption of our previous recommendations in JC No. 1 s. 2017 is encouraging for the next steps we intend to take. Meanwhile, the budget items that were not included provide us with a starting point in our future efforts to ensure that our SEF would make an impact based on our specific needs. While, purchasing a motor banca to transport students to and from island barangays (i.e., transportation needs) or providing free physical examination (i.e, medical benefits) to students may not be directly related to school maintenance or operation, these measures ensure that all students get to school, resulting in improved education outcomes. Ultimately, this should be the goal in mind when considering how funds for education will be spent.
Given the consensus among city governments that the guidelines currently governing the utilization of SEF remain unresponsive to the realities of public education, finetuning the provisions of JC No. 1 s. 2017 two years after its issuance may be in order. In this regard, we would like to solicit inputs from you on how the impact of SEF could be maximized in your city by identifying budget items that we can propose to be included as we push for an amended version of the Circular. Kindly let us know the percentage of the SEF that remains underutilized in your city because of the restrictive nature of the JMC.
We would appreciate receiving your feedback by 30 August 2019. Kindly email it to firstname.lastname@example.org or you may get in touch with the LCP Secretariat at telephone nos. 02.470.6837, 02.470.6813 and 02.470.6843 or mobile nos. 0915.750.0713 (Globe) and 0939.771.4677 (Smart) for any inquiries or clarifications. Kindly look for Mr. Segfrey Gonzales.
Very truly yours,
Atty. Shereen Gail C. Yu-Pamintuan