Gov. Mike Dunleavy introduced a supplemental budget proposal Monday that would cut the extra $20 million for schools approved by last year’s legislature for this year.
Weiss said that the school board is pretty used to preparing for year-to-year variances in the budget, but to have a drastic cut in the middle of the operating year is tough.
According to documents provided by the Department of Education and Early Development, $671,008 would be cut from Juneau School District’s budget if the proposed legislation passes.
“Once we have a legislative decision, and then in August get our final enrollment, we kind of go about our business and start operating and focusing on the education of our kids,” Weiss said. “Mid-year, to now be looking at how we undo planning, it’s a challenge.”
Each year, school districts across the state build their budgets based on revenue and enrollment assumptions. This year, those assumptions included the $20 million that was appropriated and approved last June.
“Last year, the Senate and House put aside partisanship and crafted an education budget that responded to public demand for increased education resources,” said Sen. Tom Begich, D-Anchorage in a press release. “Local schools and communities have been hit hard with the high cost of energy and the lack of inflation-proofing of our funding formula. The actions of the Governor send our education system backward, something our schools can’t afford.”
Begich said in the annual Senate Majority survey of Alaskans, 51 percent responded identifying education funding as too low, while only 14 percent identified it as being too high.
“For us halfway through our fiscal year to be looking at adjustments is very unusual,” Weiss said. “It certainly adds a different level of financial stress and pressure at a time of year we are normally focusing on the education of our kids.”
When asked where the school district might look at making those hundred-thousand dollar cuts if the proposed budget passes, Weiss said, “There aren’t any easy answers.”
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