Waiting game

  • By KAYLEE OSOWSKI
  • Monday, June 2, 2014 11:22pm
  • News

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is in the process of revising its budget due to state-level changes in funding. But more pieces of the financial puzzle needs to fall into place before final adjustments can be made.

In April the KPBSD Board of Education passed a fiscal year 2015 budget, as required, knowing changes would likely be coming from the Alaska Legislature.

With the state-level changes in House Bill 278 approved, the board is now waiting to see if changes will be made at the borough level.

The required local contribution for FY15 is $23.6 million. Currently the borough is proposing to allocate $43.5 million to the district — the same funding amount as last year.

For FY15, Legislative changes to the Base Student Allocation will bring in an additional $2.6 million. Adjustments to charter school funding based on student numbers will bring in $254,441 in additional funds. The correspondent student adjustment will bring $432,326 in more money. The district is also set to receive nearly $3 million in one-time funding from the state, according to the Department of Education and Early Development.The total increase in state money to the district is $6.27 million.

“Normally I would say, ‘Party on,’” Assistant Superintendent Dave Jones said about the increase in funding. But other numbers need to be factored into the equation.

While the increase of state dollars helped to decrease the $4.8 million deficit the board passed in April, a shortage of $2.3 million still remains.

Money for charter schools in the BSA cannot be used to the district’s discretion. How those funds are used is up to each of the four charter schools within the district.

The $254,441 for charter schools is for schools comes from changing the minimum students from 120 to 75 to qualify for student rates of schools that have 150 students. Fireweed Academy is the only school in the district affected by the change.

The board included $1.7 min one-time funding in the passed budget, bringing the actual increase down from $3 million to $1.2 million.

Also when the board passed the budget, dipped into reserve money. The board allocated $2.1 million in healthcare reserves in April.

The KPB Assembly will discuss the borough budget at a 2 p.m. Finance Committee meeting today. A public hearing on the budget is scheduled for the regular assembly meeting at 6 p.m. tonight.

The next Board of Education meeting is scheduled for July 7.

Kaylee Osowski can be reached at kaylee.osowski@peninsulaclarion.com

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