The Alaska House and Senate adjourned Monday evening, but within minutes Gov. Walker convened a special session to complete work on the state budget. Still in special session, the final budget remains unclear, including education funding.
During this special session, Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District Superintendent Robert Boyle is keeping a particularly close watch on the Base Student Allocation, or BSA.
“This year, allegedly we were going to get less one-time funding than what we got in 2015, and then the BSA was supposed to go up a certain amount.”
That was a funding increase the Legislature approved last year under former Gov. Sean Parnell, which was to take effect this summer.
“Well it turns out that the one-time funding got completely eliminated and the BSA got cut. So that’s what happened. “
Gov. Walker’s plan, which he has called his ‘Take 2 Budget’ would restore $16 million removed from the BSA by the Senate in regular session, about $50 per student.
“It’s still a roller coaster ride. We’ll be presenting our fiscal request to the borough. It’ll be challenging for everyone to figure out what to do yet.
Boyle said, like other districts in Southeast, the Ketchikan school district will ask more from the borough to make up the gap in state funds.
Education funding is not the only cut that will affect district budgets. Boyle saids cuts to the Alaska Marine Highway system would mean higher travel costs for athletics and student groups, increasing the budgeted activities fees.
The Legislature remains in session for the time being.