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SCHOOL BUDGET IN THE RED, REQUEST TO CITY FOR ADDITIONAL FUNDING PUT OFF
The State of Alaska provided just over four million dollars to the Valdez School District in 2012. The City of Valdez added the statutory maximum contribution (CAP) amount of 8.4 million. In addition, the City of Valdez provided an additional one million dollars over the CAP. This year, the School Board initially requested the same amount of funding as 2012, but met with the City in a work session last week to request $496,000 in additional outside the CAP funding for the 2013-2014 school year. CLICK HERE for a budget planning sheet for FY' 2014 from VCSD.
The School District budget is in the red and the minutes of the January 28th board meeting state the “need for $1,091,000”. In an effort to make cuts, the School board approved Superintendent Jensen’s recommendations to not re-hire a shop teacher that is retiring and not re-hire a HHES counselor that left the district.
In addition, the School District will see a reduction in utility expenses in 2013-2014 by operating just two schools during the building of the new Middle School. When the new Middle School opens, the utility expenses will have to be built back into the budget. At this time, the construction firm building the middle school estimate it will add $200,000 in additional expenses in utilities when it is built.
The School Board acknowledged at their January 28th meeting, the employee cuts will help in the short-term, but emphasized that they believed the positions cut are positions they would like to see filled at a later date. Even with the utility reductions and retirements, the School Board found it necessary to request $496,000 from the City to cover their current budget for the 2013-2014 school year. The School board cited in their minutes, that the negotiated increase in employee pay, increases in utilities and insurance and declining student enrollment are the main expenses affecting the School District’s bottom line.
The School District presentation to City Council, put together and presented by School Board President Steve Brockman, outlined cuts to food services, and Middle School activities if additional monies were not received from the City.
The City of Valdez was hesitant to provide additional funding because the oil property tax assessment has not yet been set. If the value does not come back at the same level as last year, the City will have to cut their own expenses, said City Manager John Hozey. City Council members did indicate they would like to see a more detailed, long range fiscal plan for Valdez City Schools before they would consider additional funding.
The minutes from the School Board meeting state that the Board asked Administration to come up with a recommendation to cover $494,000 to be presented at the next regular School Board meeting. The School Board will be holding a work session regarding the District’s FY’14 budget tonight from 5:30pm to 6:30pm in the School Board room. Work sessions are open to the public.