Homer Alaska - Schools

Story last updated at 3:39 PM on Wednesday, September 7, 2011

School board to meet in Homer on Monday

By McKibben Jackinsky
Staff Writer

As it does each fall, the nine-member Kenai Peninsula Borough school board is preparing to pay a visit to Homer.

Work sessions begin in the Homer High School library at 3 p.m. Monday. The regular meeting will be at the Mariner Theatre beginning at 7 p.m.

"It's a great opportunity for people to share with the board during public comment their thoughts about how things are going on this end of the peninsula," said Liz Downing, who represents Homer and is vice president of the district's school board.

Presentations by Paul Banks Elementary School Principal Benny Abraham and Voznesenka School Principal Michael Wojciak start the evening meeting.

The budgeting process, specifically how to get more public input and how to work more closely throughout the year with the nine-member borough assembly, are topics the board is currently exploring.

That school district's budget may be impacted by the Oct. 4 municipal election, which includes a proposition asking voters if a seasonal exemption of non-prepared food items from borough sales taxes shall be repealed. Effective Jan. 1, 2009, the borough exempted sales tax on non-prepared food items from Sept. 1 through May 31 of each year.

According to the proposition, that resulted in an annual reduction of approximately $1.5 million in fiscal year 2010 and is estimated at $2.8 million for fiscal year 2011.

"Folks should understand that the income from that tax goes directly to schools," said Downing.

Also on the Oct. 4 ballot are three school board seats. Incumbents Joe Arness of Nikiski, Penny Vadla of Soldotna and Bill Holt of the central peninsula are running unopposed.

For the 2011-2012 school year, Downing said enrollment throughout the district has dropped a bit, "but I believe the lower peninsula is pretty stable."

Regional trainings — one in Homer, one in the central peninsula, and one in Seward — will be offered in the near future for members of parent organizations, such as site councils.

"It's face-to-face trainings that (Dr. Steve Atwater, school district superintendent) will be doing," said Downing. "It's a great opportunity for all those folks to get together."

The agenda for Monday's school board meeting can be seen on page 9 or by visiting www.kpbsd.k12.ak.us/board.aspx?id=21235.

McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at mcibben.jackinsky@homernews.com.