Kodiak Daily Mirror - Borough Assembly holds its ground on school funding
Borough Assembly holds its ground on school funding
by James Brooks / editor@kodiakdailymirror.com
May 18, 2012 | 337 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Kodiak Island Borough Assembly held its line on school funding Thursday night despite significant public testimony encouraging assembly members to raise the borough’s contribution to the school district.

In February, the assembly stated in a formal message to the school district that it was willing to provide $9.9 million from the borough. The district requested $10.3 million, the maximum allowable under state law.

The assembly voted 4-2, assembly members David Kaplan and Chris Lynch against, to keep its contribution at the lower amount. Assembly members Carol Austerman was absent, as was Borough Mayor Jerome Selby.

“I’m not against the school district, I’m not against education,” said assembly member Mel Stephens. “We need to think about the community as a whole and not just the people who happen to be here (testifying).”

Kaplan twice suggested increasing the contribution, but was defeated.

“I do not believe we need to fall victim to the school district defunding that is happening all over the country,” he said in support of his proposals.

The increased funding would have come from money now reserved for future loan payments on the Kodiak High School expansion and renovation project.

“It is an absolute certainty that we are going to have to raise taxes significantly to pay for school bonds,” Stephens said. “(If passed), that’s going to be $456,000 more we are going to have to raise in the immediate future.”

School board president Melissa Borton, who testified in favor of the increased request, said the burden is now on the school board to make $456,000 in cuts to the school budget.

“I guess I’m disappointed, to stay the least,” she said. “A lack of investment in education today will pay off negatively, regardless of what the borough assembly thinks.”

In other business, the assembly voted unanimously to approve a first reading of the 2013 borough budget. The budget is scheduled for a more extensive review at a work session May 31. A final vote is scheduled for June 7.

The assembly also

• proclaimed May 21-28 safe boating week;

• approved a change in the way write-in ballots are counted;

• approved a $211,000 contract with PC Associates of Orange, Calif., to review plans for the Kodiak High School expansion and renovation project;

• denied a rezoning request for a neighborhood around Wilton White Way;

• approved the hiring of Dave Conrad to serve as a construction inspector and engineer on the high school project and landfill expansion;

• approved modifications to the bylaws of the planning and zoning commission.

Contact Mirror editor James Brooks at editor@kodiak

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