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Governor vetoes will affect school district budget in coming years

Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy announced his budget vetoes just hours before the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education meet on Monday.

Assistant Schools Superintendent Dave Jones was giving the report for the absent Superintendent John O’Brien.

“I’m going to go off script because this has happened since Mr. O'Brien wrote this report for me. I think people saw that the governor issued over $400 million worth of vetoes” Jones said. “Those vetoes directly affected the Kenai Peninsula Borough to the tune of 50 percent of the debt reimbursement that the state legislature had scheduled for them to be paid. The state legislature had scheduled $2,654,000 in bond debt reimbursement.”

Jones explained how those cuts will affect the district.

“With the governor's veto, $1,327,000 has been vetoed, which is money that the borough will need to come up with and will not be available for future usage,” he said.

Jones added that actions by the state administration could cost the Kenai Peninsula School District even more money.

“The governor's Director of the Office of Management and Budget made it very clear that the governor's argument that if the money was not properly appropriated, makes it through the courts and is upheld by the courts, there will not be the $30 million in one-time funding that the legislature had passed,” Jones said. “Which would be $2.1 million for us.”

Jones also related how the governor now plans on instituting his $16 billion in proposed cuts over two years. 

“I think it's important for people to understand that if you look at what (the governor) had introduced to cut or reduce at the state level for education, he had scheduled $299,000,396 to be reduced at the state level,” said Jones. “And we're looking at the future and the FY 21 budget, and it doesn't appear that it's going to get brighter.”

He said the governor’s further cuts next year would cost the district $18 million in foundation funding and another $2 million in one-time funding already approved by the legislature.

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