The Homer City Council unanimously passed a resolution at their Jan. 22 regular meeting advocating for increased education funding.
Resolution 24-015 requests that the State of Alaska make a “meaningful and timely” increase to the base student allocation for public schools. This measure follows others taken this year, including the unanimous passing of Resolution 2024-002 by the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly on Jan. 2, requesting the state make a meaningful increase to the BSA and include an annual inflationary adjustment.
The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is currently facing a more than $13 million deficit for fiscal year 2025. According to Resolution 24-015, without a BSA increase or one-time funding, the deficit will “likely require an increase to class size and the eliminations of programs important to students and community members.” KPBSD has already made a number of “significant” cuts to administration and the central office.
“We no longer have cuts to propose that won’t impact large numbers of students and community members,” the council’s resolution states.
In adopting Resolution 24-015, the council also petitions Gov. Mike Dunleavy to implement a permanent BSA increase, to include an annual inflationary adjustment, as brought forth by the State Legislature “with no vetoes exercised that would reduce or eliminate the State budget funds needed to successfully make the increase a reality.”
In response to questions about whether the matters that Resolution 24-015 addresses were in the purview of the City of Homer, council member Donna Aderhold, who sponsored the resolution with Rachel Lord, said they were due to the relationship between Homer’s schools and community.
“We could not do our community recreation program without the schools in the Homer area,” she said. “The first thing that would go would be any extracurricular activities that have nothing to do with the schools. I feel very, very strongly about this resolution, and I hope everybody will support it.”
Lord connected education funding to Homer’s economic well-being.
“There is very much a tie between the city and education at the borough level,” she said. “If we want economic development, that is only going to function if we have a workforce and we actually have working families that want to live here, and that is going to be an increasingly hard-pressed thing if we continue to go down the path that we’ve been on with our schools in terms of funding.”
Resolution 24-015 will be sent to Dunleavy, the Kenai Peninsula legislative delegation, the president of the Kenai Peninsula School District Board of Education and the Education Committees of the Alaska House and Alaska Senate, as well as other interested parties.
The full resolution is available online at https://www.cityofhomer-ak.gov/citycouncil/city-council-regular-meeting-308.