The money is on the table again.
The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education will vote on revisions to the fiscal year 2004 budget at its meeting tonight.
According to the district's chief financial officer, Melody Douglas, district administration will recommend revisions that reinstate the supply budget and unallocated fund, as well as the math and foreign language curriculum adoption budget. The revisions also will set aside money for a 2004 summer school program and will cut the pupil transportation budget.
"That's the nuts and bolts of my memo," Douglas said Wednesday.
The revisions come as no surprise to those who have been involved in the budget planning process. Though the school board and borough assembly passed a FY04 schools budget earlier this spring, both did so with the expectation of later revisions.
That's because the board and assembly were required by state law to approve a budget before the Legislature and governor had finalized state education funding for the coming year.
This spring, district administrators took a conservative approach to budget planning, cutting a number of line items to balance the budget in case the needed state funding did not come through.
The preliminary budget cut out all programs funded by Learning Opportunity Grants, which were doled out by the state for student remediation services. It also eliminated math and foreign language curriculum adoption funds, cocurricular travel and the unallocated fund, as well as reduced central office staff and districtwide supply budgets.
Some of these cuts were what Douglas called "place holders," reflecting number crunching in the easiest places. She told board members this spring that if state money did not come through, revisions would be necessary to make more significant long-term cuts.
Fortunately for the district, in June, Gov. Frank Murkowski signed the Legislature's education funding bill. The bill rolled Learning Opportunity Grants into the state funding formula and increased the base student allocation.
The changes will provide an additional $2.8 million to Kenai Peninsula schools, which means instead of finding more places to cut the budget, board members will be deciding what programs to reinstate with the extra money.
The only reduction recommended in the revisions is to the pupil transportation budget. The state's education funding bill provided extra general fund money, but changed the way districts are funded for busing students to and from school. That change will cost the district about $627,000, according to Douglas. The district is evaluating its transportation system to look for ways to cut costs to meet the new monetary restrictions.
The board is expected to discuss the revisions in depth at a work session tonight, and a vote is scheduled during the general meeting.
Also on the board's agenda for tonight is a vote on cocurricular activities and handbooks. The items went before the board in with an administrative proposal to increase participation fees for extracurricular activities. The matter was tabled at the May meeting to allow for more discussion and was up for a vote at the June board meeting.
At that time, however, confusion over the wording of an amendment that would have eliminated the fee increases led the board to vote against approving the guidelines and handbooks.
Tonight, the board again will try to resolve the matter for the 2003-04 school year, though a longer discussion over the district's extracurricular programs is likely to continue throughout the coming year.
A full agenda for the meeting is available online at www.kpbsd. k12.ak.us/schboard/Default.htm or at the district's central office. The school board will meet at 6:30 tonight for a work session on the budget revisions at the assembly chambers at the Borough Administration Building at 148 N. Binkley in Soldotna. The general meeting will follow at 7:30 p.m., also in the assembly chambers. The public is welcome to attend board work sessions and general meetings. Public comment is taken only at designated times during the general meeting. Work sessions are listen only.
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