It is almost time to “spring ahead” with our clocks and that means we are also in the final stages of school and the budget development season. So, where are we with the budget? We find ourselves in a similar position as the last few years. We are working closely with the Borough to fully fund our budget and we are working with our legislators to develop a long-term, sustainable fiscal plan that incorporates new, stable revenues into the mix. This moment of déjà vu is a little different this year as the State finds itself at the end of its reserves and the Borough may have to use significant reserves to make ends meet.
To say that this is frustrating is an understatement. The School District has been fiscally responsible in its budgeting while making reductions as far from the classroom as possible. We have heard that we need to be a part of the solution to the fiscal problem in Alaska. The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District also believes we need to be a part of the solution and we have done our part by reducing our budget by nearly $8 million over the last 4 years, with another $2 million planned for FY 19. This doesn’t include the nearly $5 million of our savings we have used to soften the blow to classrooms and not make drastic cuts in staff. Now is the time for our government leaders to do their part. The next 2 months are critical to our system of public education in KPBSD. We have and always will work closely with the entities that fund us to support them in making the tough decisions by continuing to provide facts, results, and answers to questions. We also believe that any further cuts to our system will have a significant, negative impact on student learning and possibly compromise the economic future of our Borough.
Spring is a time of hope and renewal. This spring is also a time for hard work and making tough decisions. Being engaged in the process this spring is more important than ever when it comes to the future of our State and Borough.