School board readies to tackle budget issues

Posted: Monday, October 20, 2003

The new Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education will be seated tonight as new members take their oaths of office and officers are selected for the 2003-04 school year.

Then, they'll jump right to work.

The board, which now has nine members, including four newcomers, will tackle everything from declining enrollment to budget discussions to legislative priorities Monday night.

Meetings will start with a 3:30 p.m. work session to begin identifying legislative priorities. Though the Legislature will not be in session until January, the deadline for submitting priorities is fast approaching. Board members will review last year's priorities, as well as priorities set by the Anchorage School District for the coming year in an effort to narrow its requests for the Legislature. The board is scheduled to take action on its priorities Nov. 3.

The board also will discuss current and future enrollment data. Analyzing student numbers, which have been declining for the past several years, is the first step in the budget process, as state funding is determined by enrollment.

The numbers also are used as board members consider staffing formulas for teachers, administrators and support staff employees, and in discussions of school consolidations.

The enrollment and class size data will be discussed during a work session at 4:30 p.m., and Assistant Superintendent Sam Stewart will present the class size report during the general meeting.

Finally, the board will discuss and take action on revisions to the district budget related to the increased size of the school board.

Last year, voters in the Kenai Peninsula Borough opted to expand the board from seven to nine members. That change took affect this fall.

Because of the additions, the district must refigure board expenses. The revision will not increase stipends paid to individual board members. It only will add expenses such as salaries for the two additional board members and reimbursement funds for board members who must travel to and from board meetings. The board will discuss the revisions during a work session at 5:30 p.m. and take action on the revision during the general meeting.

School board work sessions and meetings are open to the public. Work sessions are listen-only, while public comment is taken during general meetings.

The board meets in the assembly chambers at the Borough Building in Soldotna. The general meeting starts at 7:30 p.m.

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