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School board sends budget to Assembly

Sets timeline to announce further cuts if necessary

Posted: April 26, 2011 - 8:37pm

It took less than 20 minutes for the Juneau School District board to send its budget to the City Assembly for introduction Tuesday, but administrators said the board might have to amend it in a few weeks if more money doesn’t come from the Legislature.

The district is in a budget limbo as legislators debate the state budget in their overtime session, so JSD budgeters plan to identify potential cuts May 9 if student funding levels are not increased.

Superintendent Glenn Gelbrich told the school board things have to be arranged by May 16 or the district may have trouble meeting commitments made in its labor contracts. The board’s regular meeting was moved to May 12 to accommodate board member schedules and a special meeting is tentatively called for May 18 in case, as Gelbrich said, “we will have to come back together and amend it again.”

Cuts would be heard for the first time at the May 12 meeting, voted upon and then finalized May 18.

There was a bright spot in the budget process when the Legislature passed Senate Bill 84, adding career and technical education funding. That will send $427,306 to the district and increase the city’s appropriation limit for a total of $525,606 in new revenuesm if signed by the governor.

The district plans to use the money to retain teaching positions due to be cut next year at both high schools.

Still, the $100-per-student boost from the state the budget is based upon did not show up, and that sum equals just over $1 million.

The more than $90-million school district budget seeks more than $26 million from the City Assembly, which will see the budget introduced at a 5:30 p.m. meeting today in the Assembly Chambers. From there it will be referred to the Finance Committee for review.

In other business, the board approved a contract with Juneau Community Charter School and approved a list of 11 capital improvement projects in the six-year Capital Improvement Plan.

Topping the list is the Marie Drake Building Renovation and Realignment project, a $14.3 million job including major renovations and handicapped accessibility improvements.

• Contact Managing Editor John R. Moses at 523-2265 or at john.moses@juneauempire.com.

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