School board passes preliminary budget

Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Superintendent Sean Dusek got the go-ahead from the school board to formally request maximum funding from the borough for fiscal year 2019, but borough leadership warns that may be overly optimistic.

At their meeting Monday night, the school board approved the preliminary budget which allocates more than $142 million in general fund revenue across the district, made up primarily of funding from the borough and the state. It would also draw $1.3 million from the district’s fund balance to cover the FY19 expenditures of $143.5 million

On a state level, the district has been operating under the assumption of flat funding from the Base Student Allocation of nearly $6,000 per student from the Foundation Funding Formula, totaling just under $80 million in state funding.

The borough has 30 days to respond — otherwise the district will automatically receive their request of $41 million, a $2 million increase in funding from FY18, but an amount significantly higher than the nearly $29 million required by statute.

That $41 million is paired with the borough’s in-kind contributions, which covers facility maintenance and various support from the borough. The district has budgeted with the expectation that in-kind appropriation will be at about $11 million, putting the district’s local revenue at just under $53 million.

Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce doesn’t plan on letting that 30-day deadline pass, though, and expressed his concerns about the district’s preliminary budget. During public comment at Monday night’s meeting he laid out his plans for the FY19 budget for the borough and how it would impact the school district.

To read the rest of this story by the Peninsula Clarion, click here.

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