Gov. Bill Walker’s more than $58 million worth of vetoes to K-12 education may reverberate in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District.
Administrators will further review potential fallout, but expect a loss of nearly $1.1 million from transportation grant and foundation formula funding, according to Pegge Erkeneff, school district liaison.
“…Fortunately, we have a Board of Education who planned for the possibility of such a change and we can address such late reductions through the use of fund balance, without a large negative impact to our instructional programs,” said Sean Dusek, school district superintendent. “…While use of fund balance allows us to move forward this time, it also reduces our future ability to respond without experiencing negative instructional impacts.”
The last minute reductions add to an existing nearly $1 million projected deficit for the 2016-2017 school year, after the board already approved roughly $4 million cuts in services for the next school year from current operating levels in April. Had the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly funded the maximum allowable contribution to education this year the school district’s deficit would have sat at more than $200,000.
The school district is also currently revising operations of pupil transportation services, which will run a deficit by 2019 at the earliest if the state does not include inflationary funding in future annual allocations.
Walker made reductions in the areas of school debt reimbursements, rural school construction, and one-time funding that existed outside the foundation formula for state aid to school districts in addition to foundation and transportation funding.
Assistant Superintendent Dave Jones said he had not been aware of the state aid funding during the legislative session.
“KPBSD had been scheduled to receive $331,134 in one-time funds,” Jones said. “Because we were not aware of the funds, we never took any actions to budget them. As such, we will not now need to take any action to remove them.”
Jones said since the legislature can make changes once the next special session begins July 11, the school district will plan on using fund balance to cover any losses, but will wait to take any action until “final numbers are known.”
Dusek said he plans to work with Walker and the legislature in “hopes of avoiding similar future reductions so late in the process.”
Reach Kelly Sullivan at firstname.lastname@example.org.