Borough SealThe Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly introduced a motion Monday that calls for amending borough code related to the school district budget.

But, the Assembly also agreed to delay a final vote on the measure until after the Assembly-School Board Liaison Committee has had time to talk it over. That delay was in response to some concerns brought up by Schools Superintendent Robert Boyle and School Board President Michelle O’Brien.

O’Brien said the School Board has two key questions.

“Why now? Why this meeting? It’s as simple as that,” she said. “Because when we typically will work together as bodies, thinking in a cooperative nature, we would have discussed this and the details involved in this particular ordinance at a borough liaison meeting, and we would have hashed out some of the details.”

According to borough information, the ordinance officially recognizes cash, in-kind and on-behalf contributions to the school district outside of the required local contribution and discretionary school funding.

Some of the details that caused concern among school district officials include how much the district is charged for shared facilities, such as athletic fields and the borough pool.

Superintendent Boyle said the calculation method needs to be discussed.

“If we use that pro-rata formula, that makes sense, to the extent that, what the school district uses, the school district pays for,” he said. “If that’s true, we’d want to look at those formulas in a lot more detail, because the amount that the school district paid this year, as opposed to how much the community uses the fields, wasn’t a pro-rata formula at all.”

Assembly members say the intent of the ordinance is to officially establish procedures that have been in practice, but not in code, for the past couple of years, and they want it done before Borough Manager Dan Bockhorst’s expected retirement next year.

But, Assembly Member Bill Rotecki says, if school officials need to talk about the issue, they’re willing to delay.

“The idea that it’s got to happen before Dan (Bockhorst) leaves, I think that’s absolutely appropriate,” he said. “Last I heard, he’ll leave sometime before December 2016. That’s quite a bit of time, and to allow us to go to the liaison committee seems to be – and it may be unchanged whatsoever when it comes out of that – but if it allows someone to express their point of view, then I think it’s the right thing to do.”

The Assembly agreed to set a public hearing and vote on the ordinance for Dec. 21st. That allows time for two liaison meetings.

Also Monday, the Assembly rejected a resolution that would have urged the State of Alaska to implement a fiscal plan using Permanent Fund earnings to help pay for government.

The next Borough Assembly meeting is a special meeting on Oct. 12 to certify local election results. Polls are open Tuesday from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m.