The school district and borough budgets are back in front of the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly on Monday for public hearings and final votes.
During its last meeting, the assembly voted to give more money to the school district than the school board asked for, and to increase grant awards to some local nonprofit organizations.
The school board had requested less than the amount entitled to local public education through a formula that the assembly and board came up with a few years ago. The assembly opted to give the full amount, anyway, with the understanding that the board can always choose not to spend it.
The assembly also increased grants to six nonprofit organizations. Some of those offer services for seniors, the homeless and others who need assistance. Other organizations that received a boost in grant funding provide local arts opportunities.
Former Borough Assembly Member Glen Thompson, who now serves on the School Board, wrote a letter to the assembly objecting to the nonprofit grant awards. Thompson, writing for himself and not the board, argues that the assembly doesn’t have a clear legal authority to fund social service organizations.
Thompson writes that the assembly should hold grant amounts at the current budgeted level this coming year, and then ask voters to ratify social service powers before continuing to provide community grants in future years.
Thompson suggests in his letter that the borough could face a lawsuit if it continues to provide nonprofit grants without voter approval.
Also on Monday, the assembly will consider a motion to cancel its July 2nd regular meeting in light of the July 4th holidays.
Monday’s meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. in borough assembly chambers in the White Cliff building. Public comment will be heard at the start of the meeting and during public hearings.