School budget committee to wrap up tonight

The Juneau School District budget committee will forward its budget recommendations to the school board Tuesday night.

The committee wraps up more than a month of work on the fiscal year 2013 spending plan. Since January, the committee has held several meetings and taken input from school district teachers and staff, as well as the public, on how to deal with an expected $5.8 million shortfall.

Chairwoman Barbara Thurston says the budget committee process has worked well.

“It’s been a very open process. There’s been lots of opportunity for peoples’ input and there have been some recommended changes, and I suspect there’ll be more recommended changes, which are often based on the input we get,” she says. “You know everybody comes at this knowing different things and having a different perspective and it’s really helpful to hear those different perspectives of what some of these positions actually do.”

The budget committee includes members of the education board, the community, and representatives from teachers and support staff. Thurston says the committee will agree Tuesday on a draft budget, which the school board will finalize.

The administration last week proposed restoring four of six school nurse positions that had been cut from next year’s budget as well sa elementary music grants using school activity funds. The administration also proposed a number of items that would be added back if more revenue becomes available.

A decline in school enrollment, a reduction in total state and federal revenue, and increased operating costs are the cause of the budget deficit.

The school district must forward its budget to the city and borough Assembly by mid-March, long before the amount of state funding is known. Sixty-three percent of the district budget comes from the state.

The budget meeting begins at 6 o’clock in the Juneau-Douglas High School Library. The committee will take public testimony and also wants emailed comments at budgetinput@jsd.k12.ak.us.

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