Federal Board Approves $12.7 Billion Budget For Puerto Rico as Island Shakes Off Bankruptcy

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) -- A federal control board that oversees Puerto Rico's finances on Friday approved a $12.7 billion general fund budget that contains increases for teachers, judicial employees and the U.S. territory's public university.

It is the largest budget approved in the island's history.

The bulk of the funds, $2.6 billion, will go toward education, followed by $1.2 billion for public safety, $600 million for the University of Puerto Rico and $555 million for the island's health department.

The approval comes after last-minute debates threatened to derail the proposed budget, which is slightly bigger than last year's $12.4 billion budget.

The new budget was previously approved by Puerto Rico's legislature and governor on Thursday and goes into effect on July 1.

It is the third balanced budget for Puerto Rico, which officials say helps the island return to the capital markets after emerging last year from the biggest U.S. municipal bankruptcy in history.

If a fourth balanced budget is approved next year, that would mark the end of the federal control board, which was created by U.S. Congress.