John O’Brien remotely addresses the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly on Tuesday, February 2, 2021. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

John O’Brien remotely addresses the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly on Tuesday, February 2, 2021. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Borough, district to hold 2nd budget work session Tuesday

The meeting can be streamed live via Zoom or on the district’s media page

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education will meet with the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly on Tuesday for a joint work session to discuss the school district’s FY 2022 budget and borough education funding.

Borough administration and the assembly were at odds with the school district during their Feb. 2 joint work session, where the borough proposed $43 million as a minimum amount when the district requested $53 million. During that work session, KPBSD Superintendent John O’Brien said that the $53 million figure already reflects cuts and that a further reduction of $10 million could mean the loss of 100 teaching positions. That would be in addition to a potential loss of 48 other positions due to a projected decrease in enrollment.

A budget reduction list linked by the Board of Education with meeting material for Tuesday’s work session outlines three tiers of cuts, which have not been implemented, and how much money those cuts would save the district. Examples of “tier one cuts” include reducing days worked by tutors and aides by 10 days, the elimination of Student Success Liaisons, reducing High School Secretary III’s to a 206-day calendar and reducing 216-day contracts to 211 days.

Those tier one reductions would save the district approximately $760,000. The implementation of all three tiers worth of reductions would save the district about $6 million.

KPBSD Communications Director Pegge Erkeneff said Monday that those tiers were initially developed two years ago by the board as a “what if” scenario in response to a proposed state budget that would have reduced KPBSD’s state funding by $20 million. The school board will analyze the tiers on Tuesday, prior to the work session. Ultimately, Erkeneff said, the borough does not determine school district expenditures and operations if there is a decrease in education revenue.

Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce has said that the district should use the roughly $9 million they will receive from the federal government in CARES Act dollars to save those teaching positions. However, O’Brien said that those funds are meant specifically to help students who fell behind academically during the COVID pandemic to catch up. Using those funds to supplant the district’s budget, O’Brien said, would be “kicking the can down the road.”

The borough has cited a loss in sales tax revenue over the past year due to COVID as a financial hit generally for the borough and as a contributing factor to the budget amount they proposed for the district.

The borough mayor is not expected to present his budget to the assembly for approval until May, with the final hearing in June.

The district will host three community budget meetings, where the public will be able to give input on the district’s budget and budget process. The central peninsula’s meeting will take place on March 23 at 6 p.m. Homer’s meeting will take place on March 22 at 6 p.m. and Seward’s meeting will take place on March 18 at 6 p.m. All meetings will take place via Zoom.

Tuesday’s work session can be streamed live via Zoom or on the district’s media site.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at

More in News

The sign in front of the Homer Electric Association building in Kenai, Alaska as seen on April 1, 2020. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)
Homer Electric to issue over $2M in capital credits

Around 16,000 people who were HEA members in 1989 and 1990 will receive a credit on their May energy bill statement.

Sen. Lora Reinbold, R-Eagle River, holds a press in front of the doors to the Senate chambers on Thursday, March 4, 2021. Reinbold called the conference to respond to a letter from Gov. Mike Dunleavy saying he would no longer participate with her as chair of the Senate Judicairy Committee. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
State Senate removes Lora Reinbold as judiciary committee chair

The committee change was approved 17-1, with Reinbold the lone no.

Ashlyn O’Hara / Peninsula Clarion
Kelly Tshibaka addresses members of the community at Nikiski Hardware & Supply on April 9 in Nikiski.
Tshibaka reports financial support from peninsula residents

Tshibaka has raised nearly $215,000 for her campaign since the beginning of this year in total receipts.

The RavnAir kiosk stands empty at the Kenai Airport on Thursday, April 2, 2020. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Council to mull potential Kenai air carrier

Rambler Air would join Grant Aviation and Ravn Alaska in offering scheduled service between Kenai and Anchorage.

In this undated photo provided by the Tanana Chiefs Conference, shows PJ Simon, chief and chairman of the conference, from Fairbanks, Alaska, displaying a COVID-19 vaccination sticker. Alaska has been one of the leading states in the percentage of its population to be vaccinated against COVID-19. But some of Alaska’s highest vaccination rates have been in some of its most remote, hardest-to-access communities, where the toll of past flu or tuberculosis outbreaks hasn’t been forgotten. (Rachel Saylor/Tanana Chiefs Conference via AP)
Alaska tribal health groups distribute vaccine far and wide

“We live for our children. We want to bring that sense of normalcy back in our lives.”

In this June 20, 2019, file photo, the Supreme Court is seen in Washington as a storm rolls in. The Supreme Court seems inclined to say that hundreds of millions of dollars in coronavirus relief money tied up by a court case should benefit Alaska Natives, rather than be spread more broadly among Native American tribes.The justices were hearing arguments April 19, 2021, in a case involving the massive pandemic relief package passed last year and signed into law by then-President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
Court seems ready to send virus funds to Alaska Natives

The federal government set aside more than $530 million for the so-called ANCs.

A vial of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is seen at Central Emergency Services Station 1 on Friday, Dec. 18 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Alaska hits 40% fully vaccinated

In the Kenai Peninsula Borough, 35.3% of Alaskans 16 and up are fully vaccinated.

The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge headquarters in Soldotna, Alaska, on Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Wildlife refuge to host spring cleanup

On April 30 and May 1, volunteers will help collect any litter or debris at the refuge that’s been covered by snow all winter.

Logo for Alaska Department of Motor Vehicles (
Seward DMV loses both employees, closes temporarily

The two employees worked within the city and are the only ones trained to operate the DMV.

Most Read