It’s not an action item, but a proposal to change the way the Ketchikan Gateway Borough uses discretionary money to help fund education will be discussed during the Assembly’s Monday meeting.
The proposal was drafted by Assembly Member Glen Thompson, who suggests that the borough take the equivalent of 2.5 mills of the borough’s annual property tax revenue and break it up into per-student grants. The grants would go toward the education program of a family’s choice, as long as those programs are accredited by the state.
Borough Manager Dan Bockhorst included a rundown of the proposal in his regular report to the Assembly. In it, he notes that the Alaska Constitution prohibits spending public funds for religious or private schools. Therefore, payments directly to those types of schools would not be allowed.
A potential work-around would involve tax rebates for parents who send their children to private schools.
In the case of students who choose to attend public school, the grants would be paid directly to the school on behalf of the students, whether it be the local public school or another public education program.
During Wednesday’s Ketchikan School Board meeting, most board members had reservations about the proposal. One concern was the additional cost involved with administering the new system.
School Board President Michelle O’Brien has submitted a request for a joint work session, so that the School Board and Borough Assembly could talk about the proposal in detail.
Also on Monday, the Assembly will consider a motion to award a contract for installation of a biomass boiler system at Ketchikan International Airport. The name of the contractor is not yet known.
There were some questions that came up during the bid process, so the deadline was extended until Friday. The lowest responsive bidder, and the cost of the proposed contract, should be known by Monday’s meeting.
The meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. in Borough Assembly chambers at the White Cliff building. Public comment will be heard at the start of the meeting.