SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Education Funding is Astonishing
By Agnes Moran


May 31, 2011

Alaska Statute 14.17.410(b)(2) requires the Borough to make a local mandatory contribution to schools of $5,281,288 for FY2012. The Borough could walk away at this point, consider its education funding obligation fulfilled and go on to other business. But it doesn t. The Borough will grant an additional discretionary cash contribution of $3,368,712 to the school district for operating costs in FY2012.

Operating budgets are only one part of the overall cost of a school district. The Borough provides substantial funding for capital projects, debt service for school facilities, and major maintenance costs. The locally generated share of these costs in FY2012 is projected to be $3,517,601. ($36,600,000 + $3,517,601= $40,117,601). The numbers add up quickly and don t end here.

Some municipal governments in Alaska, such as Anchorage, that operate school districts have taken a much more aggressive posture in terms of recognizing in-kind services or costs for services provided to their districts than we do locally. If we were to follow a similar philosophy locally, the Borough could claim an additional $900,000 in in-kind donations. (Details can be found in the May 16, 2011 Borough meeting packet.)

So let's take a look at what the Borough residents are actually contributing to the school district through their property and sales taxes: $5,282,288 mandatory contribution + $3,368,712 discretionary contribution + $3,517,601 in capital projects, major maintenance, debt service + $900,000 in kind contributions = $13,068,601 for a local contribution to schools. Well in excess of the $10.6 million that Mr. Jaqua references.

If Borough residents were to take full credit for their support of schools they would actually exceed funding to the cap by $2,605,373. It is astonishing that given this level of education funding that people are still critical of the Borough's efforts.

State and Federal tax dollars are not free money as Mr. Jaqua suggests. One need only look at the Real Time U.S. Debt clock linked on Sitnews to see the seriousness of the debt problem facing this country. Our children will inherit this debt, and it is a terrible legacy to leave them.

We need transparency in the school district budget so we can ensure that education dollars are being spent to the benefit of our children.

Agnes Moran
Ketchikan, AK

About: "parent, tax payer, school volunteer" -- Ketchikan Borough Assembly Member

Received May 27, 2011 - Published May 31, 2011


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letter Also Astonished! By Mark Jaqua

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