The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District will present its fiscal plan and discuss deficits that it is facing to the Board of Education on February 3.
Despite already making 1.5 million dollars in reductions, KPBSD Superintendant Dr. Steve Atwater said the school district is operating at a 3% deficit and anticipates additional costs next year which is some of the reason they will request more funding.
Dr. Atwater: “What drives it primarily is that because we have salary schedules that include a modest raise for everybody each year, the amount that you spend for salaries and benefits just creeps up every year. It just creeps up. Another main driver is the cost of health care, we work very hard to contain that cost but that creeps up as well and we are budgeting for a 6% increase in health care next year.”
The Governor last night said he hopes to address education funding by implementing the schools choice initiative and asked Legislators to back SJR9, sponsored in part by Nikiski’s Senator Cathy Giessel.
SJR9 pertains to a change in the Alaskan constitution, which would allow the change in use of state money for education. Parnell says…
Gov. Parnell: “But the question of schools choice is not about private schools or religious schools. It is about whether parents should have the freedom to say what school best meets their child’s education needs with their child’s share of public money.”
However, Senator Minority Leader Hollis French said the focus needs to be on public education…
Sen. French(D-AK): “Diverting public money to private school simply continues to deprive our public schools of the resources they need to do their job.”
If SJR9 receives the support of 2/3 of both the State House and Senate, it will be presented to voters at the next general election.