KGBSD vs local nonprofits
October 20, 2010
The Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District s FY2011 budget is roughly $33 million for 2100 students. The Federal Secure Rural School Act will provide approximately $1.2 million to KGBSD in FY2012 or just over 3% of their current budget. After FY2012, barring reenactment, this amount will drop to $35,000. Instead of reining in their budget due to falling revenues, the district is expanding their programs and looking to the local community to make up the difference.
Alaska SB 236, as amended by the legislature, allows for tax credits for cash contributions by taxpayers for certain educational purposes and facilities. This sounds like a good thing until you consider the potential effect on local charitable contributions to community nonprofits. Ketchikan is a very generous community, but there is a finite amount of money available for charitable causes. $1.2 million is a significant amount of money to divert from our local nonprofit stream to the school district which is already securely funded from our taxes.
If the Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District goes after local businesses to supplement their core budget as the superintendent has indicated, I think the community as a whole will lose. For example, WalMart recently gave a very generous donation of $25,000 to a local nonprofit that serves some of Ketchikan's most vulnerable citizens. This amount will go a long way toward helping this organization provide services to the community for the entire winter. In comparison, $25,000 funds just over 1 hour of the school district's budget ($21,738 per hour based on 8 hours per day and 192 days per year operation). WalMart is one of the local businesses the school superintendent has approached for funding.
KGBSD needs to limit spending and not syphon resources from other local organizations.
About: "Borough Assembly member and citizen concerned about education issues"
Received October 20, 2010 - Published October 20, 2010
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