First-year Chapman School teacher Malia Larson speaks to the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly in support of an ordinance that will appropriate around $2.4 million to the school district in hopes of retaining some non-tenured teachers for the next school year, in Soldotna, Alaska, on Tuesday, April 2, 2019. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

First-year Chapman School teacher Malia Larson speaks to the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly in support of an ordinance that will appropriate around $2.4 million to the school district in hopes of retaining some non-tenured teachers for the next school year, in Soldotna, Alaska, on Tuesday, April 2, 2019. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Borough to vote on district supplemental funding ordinance

The ordinance would appropriate $2,423,955 for the school district’s fiscal year 2019 budget.

An ordinance that may help retain some of the district’s non-tenured teachers will be voted on at Tuesday’s Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meeting.

The ordinance would appropriate $2,423,955 for the school district’s fiscal year 2019 budget. After the joint assembly and school board meeting on March 5, Superintendent Sean Dusek submitted a letter to the assembly asking to fund the school district for 2019. The maximum amount allowable at this time is $2,423,955.

Public comment on the ordinance was taken on April 2, since Tuesday’s meeting will be held in Seward. Residents will have the opportunity to provide more public comment, either in person at the meeting in Seward, or through teleconference sites established at the borough’s assembly chambers in Soldotna and in Homer.

“During that work session the school district provided information supporting its need for maximum funding from the borough for the FY 2019 budget based on proposals to significantly reduce state funding for education in both FY 2019 and FY 2020, as well as other state cuts in funding,” according to a memo from assembly members Willy Dunne and Hal Smalley, the ordinance sponsors.

The memo says the additional funding would allow the school district to retain some non-tenured staff for the 2020 school year, and to also potentially provide a cushion to other potential state funding reductions.

“There are many reasons to provide this, but one of the main reasons would be to retain some of the non-tenured staff,” Dunne said at the April 2 assembly meeting. “It’s really unfortunate that we have to go through this on an annual basis — giving pink slips to non-tenured staff with the hopes that we will be able to hire them again in the following fiscal year.”

Dunne said if state funding is reduced, the borough may not be able to fund to the same cap next fiscal year. He said this supplemental funding can provide some breathing room, or a cushion for the school district if more cuts come in the future.

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