Pierce vetoes $2.5 million for schools

The Borough Assembly passed an ordinance April 16 increasing the FY 2019 funds by $2,423,955.

Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce vetoed supplemental funding of nearly $2.5 million for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District on Monday.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly passed an ordinance April 16 increasing the fiscal year 2019 funds to the school district by $2,423,955. The ordinance passed last month, 5-4.

Pierce issued a memo Monday to residents explaining his reasoning, which cited future fiscal uncertainty at the state level.

“It can be argued that Governor Dunleavy’s proposed budget plan to reduce $18 million in revenue from KPB’s revenue and $20 million from the school district’s revenue may be unlikely this upcoming year, yet until their budget process is completed and signed, it is myopic to overspend now,” the memo reads. “Hedging on our future ability to provide funding that we may not have only makes our situation potentially worse.”

The supplemental funding ordinance is an effort to keep some of the district’s non-tenured teachers. A memo from the ordinance says the additional funding would allow the school district to retain some non-tenured staff for the 2020 school year, and to also potentially provide a cushion to other potential state funding reductions.

In his Monday memo, Pierce says he will continue to advocate for the district to reduce expenditures outside of the classroom, “… rather than holding their teaching positions hostage while simultaneously advocating for other non-essential, non-classroom positions,” the memo said.

In order to overturn the veto, the assembly would need a 6-3 vote.