The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District passed a roughly $143 million preliminary budget Monday for the 2019 fiscal year with overwhelming support. The district expects about $80 million to come from the state, and it’s asking the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly to fund education at the maximum level, about $52 million.
The district is staring down a roughly $3 million deficit. To close the gap, the district is planning on using roughly $1 million from reserves, and its request for maximum funding is about $2 million more than it received last year, which would fill the remainder of the spending gap. If the district does not receive full funding, the district said it plans to make cuts in the classroom.
Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce spoke adamantly in favor of flat funding for the district. He emphasized that the borough may also have to make cuts and said it was the school’s decision whether or not to lay of teachers, not the borough. Still, council members decided to move ahead with asking the borough assembly to fund the district at the requested level. The district will present the budget to the borough assembly Tuesday. The budget still needs to be finalized by the borough assembly which has 30 days to respond to the district’s budget request.