Public education has been, and continues to be, a lightning rod which attracts lots of public support, criticism, attention, and derision. Thru it all, the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District has continued to provide a quality service to the citizens of this community.
There can be no argument regarding the value of education for the next generation in our community. An educated populace will, in so many ways, improve the quality of life for all of us who live in that population. Our students lead the state in achievement, graduation rates, and general social responsibility. Our employees are recognized throughout this State as leaders not only in the provision of education, but also in the development of adaptations which improve the general service provided by this District.
So, the question now is how do we continue to provide this service in a world where both of our largest funding entities (Borough and State) are facing fairly severe fiscal issues? Those issues are bound to develop into fiscal issues for the District. While we have enjoyed fairly solid support from both the State and the Borough in the past, it is now incumbent upon the District to adapt and reduce…in a proactive way…to the reality that we will be asked to do more for less in the future.
I am confident that this District can and will be able to react to this new reality. It will be the job of the Board (in conjunction with our communities) to anticipate the new funding levels, evaluate and prioritize what we currently are offering, and then determine the most logical way to reduce our annual budget to provide the absolute best product we can given the funding available.
The next few years will be a trying and difficult time for all levels of government in this State…including public education. I am confident that we can and will continue, as a District, to provide a quality service to our communities. Unfortunately, it may look different than it currently does…but with those changes, maybe we can find ways to innovate and streamline our processes and improve our overall effectiveness at doing what we do.
It is, and will be, an exciting time in public education. It is important that the KPBSD continue to be a leader in that endeavor into the future. I believe that we can…and will…given the continuing support of our communities, families, and students.