School district gets its promised funds from state

Jun 17, 2019

Governor Mike Dunleavy’s plan to block $20 million in forward-funding for Alaska school districts wound up going nowhere in the state legislature this year, and as a result, money districts have been counting on has finally arrived.

However, some — if not most — districts have already spent their portion of the allocation. Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Assistant Superintendent Dave Jones explains.

“For the Kenai it amounted to $1,389,000. And it was money that we had budgeted to spend last year when the legislature passed it. We had scheduled to make some cuts with PTR at the high school level last year. When they passed the one time funding (in) the legislature last year, we reinstated those positions,” he said. “And so we've paid that money out for the school year to the teachers that we hired based upon that.”

The delay forced the district to pay those teachers from budget reserves. 

Deposits to school districts should have arrived on Wednesday.

Funding for the upcoming year has not been settled yet, and Jones says there’s an additional $30 million in forward funding for next year that is still in he mix.

“Both the regular foundation funding and the one time $30 million for next year are both still up in the air depending on whose version of the legal interpretation you want to accept,” Jones said. “You know, there's the governor's version where he doesn't believe it's been appropriated, and there's the legislative version where they believe it has been.”

He said the district won’t know if it’s getting those funds until the first payments are due on July 15th.