By A. M. Johnson
March 08, 2016
As it regards the current under consideration Ketchikan School District Budget, this presentation is offered with encouragement to the obvious diligence the school board has dedicated to the operating budget for 2016/17 year. The Board's diligence to complete their presentation for budget funding to the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly in a very early manner indicates that the pain of prioritizing has been made and the education plan that requires funding has been accomplished. This in the face of the reported discord between the two bodies.
The budget numbers as submitted warrants equal action by the Assembly in honoring the board's efforts and they should fund the budget down to the 'Red' line as presented. It would be a good thing to set aside all the public discontent shown by the two bodies and no better way than to agree with the submitted budget numbers reflecting funding above and to the determined 'Red' line.
Recognizing that funds for ALL community needs will be up for discussion-- each and every community group will request funding and many may not survive without the Borough's contributions. The school board has submitted their educational decisions on how funding will be distributed based on anticipated contributions should be viewed as a forward thinking effort on their part. Community groups would be well advised to recognize and prepare budget request to reflect, as the board has ---- good time State and local funding have come to an end for the foreseeable future.
Yes, and fairly as they should, the board has posted many activities that fall short of available funding (assuming the $1.4 or so million reserve funds are restricted from use) and submit those short falling items as a wish list were the Assembly to see fit to fund beyond the required amount. Were the Assembly to do so, then it stands that the assembly is involving itself into the direction of how funds should be spent, which is not their prerogative and it would seem, they are aware of that.
All community groups applying for annual funding would suffer additional smaller dollar allocated share were the school budget funded in excess of the submitted school board budget.
Assumption: Equality of sharing of available funding is an assembly's budget goal.
Facility costs and allocation to the school budget affect said budget however, the Assembly seems to be following the State interpretation which instructs the Assembly by that edict to identify those costs.
Other than those costs, (A paper transaction?) fiscally how the school board spends the budget funding is their prerogative and theirs alone. As it should be. They have, and, as stated, the budget submitted should be honored and funded to that degree.
So: The school board has designed their budget and made their educational choices.The Assembly should fund that budget not question it. That action will serve to reflect the anticipated funding reduction from the State and reflect current fiscal levels of the community.
To some degree, due to the economy all of us are facing individual funding decisions. We work with what we have. Local Government will have to reflect acknowledgement of this with being proactive in allocation of taxing revenues.
A hearty congratulations to a school board that recognizes hard times and budgets for them. It is hoped that the Ketchikan Borough Assembly will have the fortitude to agree.
About: Former Ketchikan Borough assemblyman, former Ketchikan school board member
Received March 06, 2016 - Published March 08, 2016
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