School district looks over possible budget issues for fiscal year 2019

Checkbook. (Photo by Jridgewayphotography / Flickr)

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

The Kodiak Island Borough School District is looking at a budget shortfall for fiscal year 2019.

The district business manager presented a preliminary FY19 budget to the school board at its regular meeting Monday night. School district superintendent Larry LeDoux said it’s rare for the school board to review the budget this early in the year.

“But we believe and I think the borough said, the sooner they know what our expectations of them [are], the sooner they can make good decisions at their level. So, that’s why you’re seeing what you’re seeing now.”

The state is facing its own budget gap, and the school district is getting less funding on both the state and the borough level this year. LeDoux said the preliminary FY19 budget is not leaving a lot of funds leftover for extras.

“We’re not going and asking for new teachers. We’re not going and asking for new supplies. We’ve already cut in just our FY19 proposed budget over $800,000, not counting the fact that the request the principal sent in on what they need in terms of staffing and supplies has already been cut from the proposal.”

District business manager Sandy Daws said, right now, they’re projecting a possible budget shortfall of $1.5 million for FY19. She says that’s connected to enrollment issues.

Each community school needs at least 10 students to qualify for state funding.

“When our rural schools are not meeting the minimum of 10, that’s about a $320,000 shortfall for the district. Even though we’re able to roll some of those smaller numbers up into another smaller village, we don’t get that full credit. So, with two of our rural schools not looking at meeting that count at this point for FY19, that’s close to a $600,000 shortfall with that alone for two of those rural schools not meeting the count.”

Daws says Danger Bay closed this year, and neither Port Lions nor Karluk met the minimum number of students. She says both schools remained open, but the district grouped the students together with the Larsen Bay school students in order to receive funding. She says the district would look at Port Lions and Karluk schools first if there’s a need to close another school.

The FY19 preliminary budget heads next to the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly. The school board will meet with the assembly to discuss it next Tuesday.

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