School board considers new approach to lobbying for funds

  • By Kelly Sullivan
  • Tuesday, October 21, 2014 11:24pm
  • News

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Board of Education members on Tuesday considered options to lobby for education funding.

Sen. Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, asked the school board to identify targeted or specialized programs that address gaps in education statewide. Legislators may be more swayed if they see results coming from what they are spending money on, he said.

When it comes to foundational funding, there are schools in the Alaska education system, certain locations or demographics, that aren’t meeting the mark, Micciche said.

Education is funded for the state as whole, not by individual districts, Micciche said. Lobbying for funding is achieved in a group, he said.

“The legislature is frustrated because they are funding more and not getting results,” Micciche said. “Educators are frustrated because they are not getting the leadership from the state that they need.”

The discussion between Micciche and the board came just before the board’s second meeting for developing the fiscal year 2016 budget.

The school district needs a basic amount of money to function every year, said school board member Sunni Hilts. The fight in Juneau is every year is about the basics.

Micciche said by comparison, the Kenai Peninsula school district generates academically sound students, but the same progress is not consistent statewide.

“You can’t think district by district in this state,” Hilts said. “We should see what we do well and offer those methods to other districts.”

Superintendent Steve Atwater said funding for education in rural areas is an underlying tension in Alaska. Further, not all districts have a board of education providing leadership within the community and guiding local decisions regarding education, he said.

Kenai Peninsula school locations range from populated city centers to isolated villages, said board member Penny Vadla. Educators spend a shorter amount of time teaching in rural areas, she said. Students need stability to learn.

A factor in their exodus is administrative frustrations stemming from lack of funding and support within the community, Atwater said.

Micciche asked the school board if there was a way to fund education that evenly affects the rural populations. No one from the board had a quick answer.

“To squeeze funds out of legislators, I have to give them a program that has results,” Micciche said. “This is not, ‘What Peter said,’ this is what I am hearing in Juneau.”

While offering competitive salaries may keep teachers and administrators in one place, a high paid educator does not make a strong student, Micciche said. It’s about funding the right programs, he said.

There needs to be a connection between funds and results, Micciche said.

“The state should not have this struggle every year in Juneau for determining what is the adequate level of funding,” Micciche said.

With the promise of large, economy boosting projects that will be creating jobs in Alaska in the next few years, the students going through the state’s education system need to be competitive enough to ensure they will be the ones filling those positions, Micciche said.

Reach Kelly Sullivan at kelly.sullivan@peninsulaclarion.com.

More in News

Assembly President Brent Johnson asks questions of representatives of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District during a joint work session of the School Board and Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly in Soldotna, Alaska, on Tuesday, April 2, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Borough to enter contract for asbestos flooring abatement in 3 central peninsula schools

The work will be done at Kenai Central High, Kenai Alternative High and Sterling Elementary schools

Alaska State Troopers logo.
1 dead, 3 missing after boat capsizes near Seward

Alaska State Troopers were notified by the U.S. Coast Guard of an overturned vessel around 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday

Kenai Central High School stands under clear skies in Kenai, Alaska, on Thursday, May 23, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Borough approves contract for KCHS parking lot rehabilitation

Soldotna-based Foster Construction will be awarded the bid of $648,997 to complete the project

Central Peninsula Hospital is seen in Soldotna on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Central Peninsula Hospital to host Cancer Survivor’s Day event

The event will take place Sunday, June 2 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion
Rep. Ben Carpenter, R-Nikiski, speaks to the joint Soldotna and Kenai chambers of commerce at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex on Wednesday.
Carpenter gives wrap up on session as he nears end of House term

Carpenter is seeking election to state Senate District D

(from left to right) Jachin Sanchez, Carter Lemons, Rowan Mahoney, Adelyn McCorison and Taylor Rickard graduated from Ninilchik School on Monday, May 13, 2024 in Ninilchik, Alaska. Photo provided by Mattea Peters-Williamson
Ninilchik graduates 5 in 2024 commencement

The school held the ceremony Monday, May 13

Kenai Peninsula Education Association President LaDawn Druce, left, and committee Chair Jason Tauriainen participate in the first meeting of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District’s Four Day School Week Ad Hoc Committee on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
4-day school week committee adjourns

The committee will deliver recommendations to school board in July

Soldotna Elementary School Principal Dr. Austin Stevenson points out corroded insulation outside of the school building on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022 in Soldotna . (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna Elementary awaits action on approved bond

Almost two years after public OKs bond, borough asking for more time

Most Read