School district gets budget answers

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District’s looming question has been answered — they will receive status quo funding from the state for the 2017 – 2018 school year.

With the first day of school slated for Aug. 22, the district has been sitting on a preliminary budget passed in April that worked off the assumption of status-quo funding from both the state and the Kenai Peninsula Borough.

After months of uncertainty, the Alaska State Legislature adopted a budget that includes status quo funding for K-12 education which would allocate approximately $87.1 million of funding to the district in Fiscal Year 2018, according to district budget documents. This includes $79.2 million from the state Foundation Funding Formula.

“We thank and appreciate the efforts of our legislators and local leaders in this process,” Superintendent Sean Dusek said in a release on Friday.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough also appropriated $49.73 million to education in FY18, a $1.5 million increase over FY17.

“It is our hope that future funding for K-12 education will be decided much earlier in the process to avoid the uncertainty of programs and opportunities for our students experienced during these past several months,” Dusek said. “We will continue to work with the legislature to fulfill the goal of a sustainable, responsible, long-term fical plan that will allow Alaska to continue to be a vibrant and attractive state in which to live.”

The district passed a preliminary budget in April based on status quo funding that projected total general fund revenue at $136.7 million, with $87.1 million from the state and $48.2 million from the borough.

The preliminary FY18 budget covered a $3.4 million defecit with $2.6 million in reductions and a $1.1 million transfer from the district’s fund balance, according to budget documents.

Following the borough’s budget announcement earlier this month, the district was able to fill 12 open teaching positions out of 30 positions that were frozen due to the unknown nature of the FY18 budget.

“We will fill open teaching positions as best we can,” Dusek said.

The district hopes to have a full staffing recommendation for the school board to approve soon, according to Dusek.

“We thank our staff, families and community members who invested time and effort to learn about education revenue and expenditures, as well as advocate to the legislature and borough on behalf of our excellent schools in the KPBSD,” Dusek said.

Reach Kat Sorensen at kat.sorensen@peninsulaclarion.com.

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