MANILA - Sen. Imee Marcos on Monday pushed for the expansion of school boards in localities to include representatives of private schools and barangay officials.
Under the Local Government Code of 1991, the board, which decides how the Special Education Fund is spent, is headed by either the provincial governor or the city or municipal mayor.
It is composed of several councilors, the president of a jurisdiction's parent-teacher association, and a representative of the non-academic personnel from public schools.
"Sana i-expand 'yung membership sa private schools kasi
sila yung unang tinamaan at magsasara [dahil sa pandemiya]," Marcos told reporters in a virtual press conference.
(I hope the membership can be expanded to include private schools because they were the first to be hit and the first to close because of the pandemic.)
A private schools group earlier said that about 2 million private school students are expected to either transfer to public schools or drop out as the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis affected households' income across the country.
The sector has also appealed to senators and the Department of Health for aid during the pandemic to avoid closure of several private schools.
Barangay officials, who are more knowledgable about the needs of students in communities, should also have a say in how the SEF is spent, Marcos said.
"It takes a barangay to educate a child. Hindi puwede na sa DepEd lang tayo umaasa kasi hindi na din nila kaya," she said.
"Halos yung IRR (Implementing Rules and Regulations) lamang ng DepEd ang nasusunod... Hindi namin magastos nang mabuti yung SEF," said the senator, who used to serve as Ilocos Norte Governor.
The SEF is sourced from 1 percent of the real property taxes collected by local governments.
Under the law, local school boards must spend their respective SEF for the construction and maintenance of schools, educational research, purchase of books and periodicals, and sports development.
Sen. Christopher "Bong" Go had filed a bill to expand the coverage of the SEF as schools shift to online, TV and radio classes while a vaccine against the coronavirus disease has yet to be developed.