KPBSD Finance Director Elizabeth Hayes (left) gives a presentation on the school district’s FY23 budget at Soldotna High School on Thursday, Oct. 8, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

KPBSD Finance Director Elizabeth Hayes (left) gives a presentation on the school district’s FY23 budget at Soldotna High School on Thursday, Oct. 8, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

School district budget forums offered this week

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is inviting community members to give input on the district’s fiscal year 2023 budget process through four budget forums being held this month. Fiscal year 2023 begins on July 1, 2022, and ends on June 30, 2023.

Forums are being held in Homer, Seward and the central peninsula, with a remote option available for the central peninsula forum. The forums are moderated by KPBSD Finance Director Elizabeth Hayes and are an opportunity for people to ask questions and provide input about the budget process.

All forums start at 6 p.m. The central peninsula forum will be held in the Kenai Central High School library today, while the eastern peninsula forum will be held in the Seward High School library on Feb. 24. The southern peninsula’s forum was held on Tuesday at the Homer High School library.

The school district kicked off budget negotiations with the Kenai Peninsula Borough earlier this month during a joint work session with the borough assembly. Hayes told assembly members that for the upcoming fiscal year, KPBSD is requesting $50 million from the borough in addition to contributions from the State of Alaska.

This district has also received three rounds of federal COVID-19 relief money, which comes from Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief, or ESSER funds.

The district used its first round of ESSER funds — about $2.3 million — during fiscal year 2021, which ended on June 30, 2021. Roughly $9 million in ESSER II funds was used to save teaching positions during the previous district budget cycle. An additional $20 million was awarded to the district through ESSER III funding, 20% of which is required at the federal level to help catch up students who fell behind academically during the pandemic.

More information about the district’s budget process can be found on KPBSD’s finance page.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

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