Assembly sets base funding for school district at $49.7M

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District will get at least as much funding from the borough in fiscal year 2019 as it did this year.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly agreed to set the minimum local contribution for the school district at $49.7 million for the upcoming fiscal year at its Tuesday meeting, the same amount it budgeted in fiscal year 2018. The assembly could still increase the amount in the final budget, but it now cannot go below that amount as the members debate and amend line items for the next month.

Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce originally set the minimum funding for the school district at approximately $46.7 million, $3 million less than the borough contributed to the school district in fiscal year 2018. Assembly member Kelly Cooper amended the ordinance to boost the amount to $49.7 million.

Every year, the assembly has 30 days after the school district formally requests its funding to approve the base local contribution. That deadline fell Tuesday night this year. Approving the funding before the school year ends allows the school district to move forward with hiring teachers for the coming school year.

“We have deadlines for the (teacher) contracts; we don’t want to wait until the last day for the school period,” Cooper said.

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