District enrollment down

Combined with fuel costs, numbers cause financial crunch

Posted: Thursday, September 15, 2005

Decreasing enrollment numbers and soaring fuel prices mean belt-tightening for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, Melody Douglas, KPBSD chief financial officer, announced at Monday's school board meeting.

"We are under projection by about 200 students," Douglas said of counts taken since the 2005-06 school year began Aug. 22. "Overall, it looks like we missed by slightly more than two percent. And that's approximately a $1.4 million shortfall in revenue should that enrollment shortfall prevail."

That projected financial impact includes both state and borough funding, Douglas said. During October, the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District and other districts across the state take a 20-day student count that is forwarded to the state. That data is then used to determine district revenue based on the state funding formula.

"We'll bring back a budget plan in late November or early December," Douglas said in her report to the board. "It will be a combination of budgetary reductions and maybe use of the fund balance."

The board also heard how rising fuel costs are being felt districtwide.

"I had one school that between June and September had a 12 percent increase," Douglas said.

In addition to heating costs — heating oil, as well as natural gas — the impact rising fuel costs is having on district contractors will eventually hit the district's pocketbook, Douglas predicted.

"We'll have to address those as they rise, but the most pressing concern right now is utilities."

In other district news, a clear definition of "bullying" was presented by the administration and unanimously approved by the board at Monday's meeting. It is based on an Association of Alaska School Board policy that the district has adapted to fit the district.

"We felt like it was important to be real specific what 'bullying' is and the possible consequences for that kind of behavior," said Assistant Superintendent Sam Stewart. "We haven't had any major cases (of bullying), but there are always circumstances that principals have to deal with where bullying is taking place and they try to educate the student about how their behavior is harmful."

As approved by the board, "Bullying is the repeated intimidation of others by inflicting or threatening physical, verbal, written, electronic, or emotional abuse, or damage to another's property. Bullying may include, but is not limited to conduct such as physical abuse, damage or theft of another's property, social exclusion from activities, verbal taunts, name-calling, rumors, innuendoes, drawings, jokes, gestures, pranks, and put-downs relating to real or perceived differences, including another's culture, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, body size, physical appearance, clothing, personality, age, socioeconomic status, ability or disability or other distinguishing characteristics."

The next meeting of the Kenai Peninsula School Board is scheduled for Oct. 3 in Seward.

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