School board OKs revisions to budget

Posted: Friday, November 08, 2002

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District will dip into reserve funds to cover a 100-student shortage in enrollment and the cost of a new charter school.

The school board approved a budget revision Monday night that increases the district general operating budget to $76.6 million from $76.5 million.

The revision was necessary because the district came up about 100 students short of the 2002-03 enrollment projection, which means it loses $228,279 in state formula funding, $66,303 in borough funding and $486 in state Learning Opportunity Grant money.

The Montessori Charter School, which was approved by the state Department of Education and Early Development after the original budget was approved, also needed to be included in the district's annual accounting plan. The board approved $211,483 for the charter school.

To make up for the decreased revenue and added expense, the budget revision cut $101,287 from Connections, the district's home school, distance-learning program. According to Melody Douglas, the district's chief financial officer, the program will not need that money because it is under its projected enrollment.

The revision also allocates $464,778 of the district's fund balance for the 2002-03 budget. The fund balance is a sort of savings account, where the district stores excess funds from year to year. The allocation leaves about $836,214 of undesignated money in the fund balance.

Douglas, who prepared the recommended revision, said last week that the district needs to be careful about using fund balance money to pay for recurring expenses, but that it was necessary in the light of the drop in enrollment.

Also Monday night, the board approved an enrollment projection for the 2003-04 school year. Enrollment projections are based on trends from previous years and are important to budgeting, as state funding is provided on a per-student basis.

According to a memo submitted to the board by Douglas, district enrollment has dropped about 2 percent each year for the last five years. She recommended that the board approve a projected enrollment of 9,419 students for the 2003-04 school year. That projection is 2.5 percent less than current enrollment.

"The district does not have the resources to cover the decline in revenue resulting from unrealized enrollment projections," she wrote, advocating the conservative approach to the projection.

In other action Monday night,

n The board approved a draft calendar to be used as a guideline for preparing the 2003-04 district budget.

n The board approved a budget transfer of $1.7 million from the Department of Education and Early Development. The transfer allocates Learning Opportunity Grant funds to pay for math and science textbooks; the middle school school-within-a-school program; computer assisted instruction; educational standards implementation; Alaska On-Line program for distance instruction; and summer school reading and math programs.

n The board approved new teacher assignments for Erik Peter Larson, special education and resource teacher at Kenai Middle School; Stephanie Tauzell-Roberts, temporary kindergarten teacher at the Montessori Charter School; and Steven R. Baldeshwiler, special education and resource teacher at Skyview High School.

n The board approved a resolution regarding inequities in state funding to be addressed at the Association of Alaska School Board annual conference.

n The board approved a list of 2003 state and federal legislative priorities (see related story, page A-1).

n The board presented a first reading of a number of minor policy revisions to the board bylaws portion of the district policy manual. The board systematically reviews the policy manual. A second reading of the policy revisions will be presented at a future meeting. The text of the revisions is available online by visiting, clicking on "board packet and agenda information" and following the link to the Nov. 4 board meeting.

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