BAGUIO CITY – A meeting is set among members of the Association of Private Schools Administrators (APSA), City Treasurer Alicia Onoza, representatives of the Department of Education (Dep-Ed), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and the council committee on education chair Peter Fianza.
This was agreed upon during the council session last Monday with APSA President Annie Marie Caguioa presenting a resolution as to their academic operations in the city. The APSA consists of 149 private academic institution members – 88 elementary and 61 high schools in the city
Among the concerns brought to the attention of the city council were: the strict implementation of the zoning ordinance as to the proximity of computer shops and bars to schools; exemption of teachers from paying the Professional Tax Receipts (PTR), as their licenses are renewed with the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC), and pay for their income and community taxes.
The council vowed to look into the zoning ordinance, and City Treasurer Onoza informed the body that the PTR is paid to the local government unit due to Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) tax laws.
APSA members, in their resolution requested that private schools, including nursery, recognized by the Dep-Ed be exempt from securing business permits from the City Licensing and Permits Division, as they have “undergone rigid and thorough process in obtaining recognition.”
A compromise was however presented for nursery schools not yet recognized shall apply for a business permits with the city government.
The APSA resolution rued that expenses for faculty development of the school comes from the return of investment (ROI), as 70% of tuition fees is for teachers’ salaries, 18% for school facilities, equipment and other operational costs, with the remainder as ROI.
Caguioa and APSA members were informed that tax exemptions may be granted to a school if proven that there is no surplus income. Documents should also be submitted: books of accounts and audited financial statement with references to sources of income, summary of expenses, capital outlay, and sources of other income, if any.
As to school canteens exempted from filing for business permits, APSA members were informed that a Baguio school avails of such privilege. The basis, Onoza clarified, is that the school directly operates the canteen with the income used for research and faculty development. A leased-out school canteen however should have a business permit, she said.
Financial and legal documents are also important for schools serving as charitable institutions, Onoza said when informed of a school with free board and lodging for differently-abled students. A certificate of tax exemption would be needed, it was known
Onoza however clarified that annual inspection and sanitary fees should be paid to the city as deferred payments would incur fines and penalties
Councilors Faustino Olowan urged the school administrators to comply with tax laws and submit the required annual reports and financial documents, since these are submitted as well to the Securities and Exchange Commission, BIR and other offices.
Vice-Mayor Edison Bilog also requested that the city’s jurisdiction over schools be clear, for those with affiliates around the province or region.
An ordinance would also be crafted if needed, the council agreed.
Other matters were also clarified: basic education or pre-school for children below five years old is under the jurisdiction of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Dep-Ed takes charge of those from Kindergarten level up to Grade 10.
City Schools Division Superintendent Francis Cesar Bringas cautioned the public about fly-by-night or illegal schools, and acknowledged the need school permits, regulation and accreditation for the protection of students. This includes technical and vocational institutions.
Councilor Elmer Datuin stood for Korean institutions that cater to English students in the city, which also boosts employment for the teachers.
The council also admitted that the private education’s sector role in the city is indispensable. The ASAP members were assured that notices for the venue and date of meeting will be delivered.
Other offices earlier requested to join the meeting were City Health Services Office, City Social Welfare and Development Office, Licensing and Permits Division, Buildings and Architecture Office, and Planning and Development Office./Julie G. Fianza