School district, borough begin budget talks

Jan 17, 2018

 

Borough mayor Charlie Pierce has identified $500,000 in cuts he'd like to see and hinted more may be coming.

The annual process of putting together the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District budget is underway.

At a joint work session with the school board and the assembly Tuesday, Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce identified savings he thinks can be found in one area of the budget, but wasn’t tipping his whole hand.

“(There are) some other mixes in the puzzle that I’m not at liberty to discuss at this time or prepared to discuss. With that, I’d say you can anticipate, should nothing change at the state level, I think we can do a flat (funding) with you and then take a cut on the in-kind side of your budget with $500,000.”

That half a million is half of what would be going into the district’s maintenance fund. Pierce says that will help balance the school budget, which is again facing a deficit. This year, it’s projected to be a little more than $3 million, said assistant superintendent Dave Jones.

“If we reduced half a million dollars in in-kind maintenance, then our overall budget revenue would drop half a million, expenditures would drop half a million and our overall deficit would remain at $3.3 million."

That's down from the previous fiscal year, when the district borrowed from its fund balance, and received a boost in funding from the borough to cover the difference.

The mayor’s administration is offering up flat funding, about $49 million. District Superintendent Sean Dusek says he’ll be requesting the maximum funding allowed, a number dependent on how the state budget process plays out in Juneau.