Time to get started on next year’s budget

  • Thursday, July 16, 2015 3:49pm
  • Opinion

With the budget process for the 2015-16 school year just finished, the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education and administration already are looking at next year’s spending plan.

While so much of next year’s budget is in limbo — and will be for several more months — what is clear is that the state’s budget crunch will continue, and districts around the state will need to be prepared for additional reductions in funding.

What also became clear during the state’s budget process is that, while roughly 90 percent of the state’s revenue is dependent on oil, very little planning has previously gone toward developing contingency plans in the event that oil prices do what they’ve been doing.

We’re glad to see the school district taking a proactive approach, and developing a list of options — as well as weighing the potential impacts of those options. It would be easy and understandable to take a wait-and-see approach — maybe oil prices will rebound, maybe the Legislature will come up with more money for schools — but the longer a situation is left unaddressed, fewer and fewer options become available.

Certainly, the options the school district will consider aren’t ideal — cutting education means taking away opportunities for our youth. Over the next several months, administrators and school board members will be weighing the impacts of things such as increased class sizes. Board work sessions, school site council reports and feedback from community meetings will be used to prioritize district spending. Superintendent Sean Dusek said the district will be examining a number of “what if” scenarios with regard to next year’s budget.

These are things that no one wants to talk about. But if policy makers are able to evaluate cuts with a thorough understanding of the consequences, they need to start talking about them now. We hope other elected officials and government agencies are following the school district’s lead, rolling up their sleeves and looking at the “what if” scenarios now, so that when it comes time to make some tough choices, decisions will be based on which ones will have the least harmful impacts.

More in Opinion

Nurse Sherra Pritchard gives Madyson Knudsen a bandage at the Kenai Public Health Center after the 10-year-old received her first COVID-19 vaccine on Friday, Nov. 5, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Alaska Voices: A mom’s and pediatrician’s perspective on COVID-19 vaccines for children

I want to see children and their parents who have yet to get vaccinated roll up their sleeves.

Gavel (Courtesy photo)
Opinion: The foolish men claiming self-defense

It’s not just misguided teenagers carrying guns who find themselves in trouble with the law.

Larry Persily (Peninsula Clarion file)
Opinion: State defends its right to cut nonexistent taxes

This from a state that has no property tax on homes or businesses, only on the oil industry.

Dr. Jay Butler, former chief medical officer for the State of Alaska, is seen in this undated photo. (Courtesy photo)
Alaska Voices: Feeling grateful this Thanksgiving for the COVID vaccines

The COVID vaccines remain our strongest tool in combating the pandemic and helping us return to our lives and the things we love and cherish.

A resident casts their vote in the regular municipal election Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020 at the Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)
Voices of the Peninsula: All votes matter

In the beginning, only property-holding white men could vote.

Cristen San Roman. (Photo provided)
Point of View: Is management of Cook Inlet catered to special interest groups?

If these fish are so at risk, why is BOEM able to move forward with lease sale 258?

Homer Foundation
Point of View: Grateful for the hidden ‘good’

Gratitude: Noun The state of being grateful; thankfulness. The state or quality… Continue reading

Homer High School Principal Douglas Waclawski. (Photo provided)
Point of View: What is Homer High School about?

What I consider Homer High’s strength is that we are a place for learning.

UAA Chancellor Sean Parnell. (courtesy photo)
Alaska Voices: Invent your future at UAA

At UAA we’re providing the tools to help students of all ages and skills chart a new course forward.

A registered nurse prepares a COVID-19 vaccine at the pop-up clinic on the Spit on May 27. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
Alaska Voices: Vaccination is the still best protection from COVID-19

The Alaska State Medical Association encourages you to protect yourselves and your community from preventable illness by getting recommended vaccines.

(Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
The sad diminishment of Rep. Don Young

Young seems afraid to demand his party leader defend the dignity of the institution he loves.

A “Vote Here” sign is seen at the City of Kenai building on Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, in Kenai, Alaska. (Clarion file)
Alaska Voices: Restore our strong campaign donation limits

Without campaign spending limits, the ideal of one person, one vote is no longer really true.