The Kodiak Island Borough Assembly is fast approaching a deadline to have the borough’s budget for next year approved. And supporters of full-funding for local schools are expected to give the assembly an ear-full during tonight’s special work session on the budget.
In fact, in his blog on the school district’s website, Kodiak Island Borough School Superintendent Stewart McDonald urged the school community to stand up and tell the assembly what they are willing to do to support education.
KMXT’s Maggie Wall has more.
— (Boro Work Session 3:01 "The assembly…on the agenda. SOC")
The assembly last week considered two more options for balancing the borough’s budget, including a plan that holds local property tax at 10 point 5 mills and funds schools at $9.6 million dollars. That’s more than the $8 point 5 million minimum approved by the assembly last month, but it still considerably less than the school district’s request of $11 point 2 million.
In his blog on the district’s website, McDonald said a $1 million cut is the equivalent of the personnel budget for one of the local elementary schools.
The school district was caught short when the borough assembly began cutting the school’s budget down from what has been called consistent funding. Since employment contracts had already been offered to certified staff, the school district’s attorney said cutting staff solely to balance the budget is not an option.
What this means, McDonald wrote is less teacher aides, custodians, secretaries, etc. It means less money for materials and supplies. And, he said, it means less money for activities, and non-mandated instructional programs. It also means that reading, writing, and math will be the priority and programs geared toward the gifted and talented, counseling and physical education will take the brunt of the cuts.
McDonald wrote that he is saddened to see that the Kodiak Island Borough staff and assembly members "view education as an unwanted burden."
But many assembly members have repeated expressed their desire to see school programs funded-but that there is no spare money and cuts need to be made by everyone.
Assembly woman July Fulp has been an especially vocal supporter of the schools. She spoke at last week’s assembly meeting:
–((Boro Work Session Judy :48 "And I am for…a little bit of hope."))
The deadline for final borough approval of its contribution to schools is Friday the 10th, and assembly members plan a final vote at a special assembly meeting Thursday night.
Tonight’s borough assembly special work session will be held in the assembly chambers. It begins at 7:30. Citizen’s comments are the first thing on the agenda.
I’m Maggie Wall.