School District’s across the state are in the process of preparing their budgets for the next fiscal year. They face some big unknowns including how much money to expect from the State of Alaska.
The proposed FY-2015 budget for the Dillingham City School District was rolled out during Monday’s School Board meeting. The budget is based on a total enrollment of 480 students. That’s down from the current enrollment of just over 490-students. The proposed FY 2015 budget is based on expected revenues of $11.8-million dollars. That’s up $1.3-million dollars compared to the current FY 2014 budget. The district is anticipating increased revenues from the State to cover the district’s contributions to the Public Employee and Teachers retirement systems, as well as an increase to the Base student Allocation. The District is using Governor Parnell proposed $85 dollar increase as a basis for the proposed budget. Governor Parnell’s proposed increase to the Base Student Allocation has been linked to the Legislature taking action to increase school choice and some believe that includes passage of a controversial constitutional amendment that would allow public money to go to private and religious institutions. However, the Governor has included some other school choice provisions in his omnibus education legislation.
State Senator Mike Dunleavy is a Republican from Wasilla. He’s the vice-chair of the Senate Education Committee. Dunleavy has been a teacher, principal, superintendent, school board member and education consultant. His suggestion for school districts, based on his experience as a past school board member, is to prepare for the worst case scenario in regards to funding from the state.
“We don’t know if there will be an increase to the B-S-A. We don’t know if there is by how much. And so we would always be a little prudent and put together an alternative budget that had no increase at all.”
Senator Dunleavy’s comments came during Tuesday’s Senate Majority press conference. The proposed F-Y 2015 budget for the Dillingham City School District is just that… a proposal… and can be changed over the next few weeks as the budget is subject to public comment and review by the Dillingham School Board. The budget must be finalized by the first of April when it is then sent to the Dillingham City Council for approval. That means that the budget will likely be approved before the actual amount of funding from the State is finalized before the scheduled end of the Legislative session in Juneau on April 20th.