Despite governor’s legal challenge, Juneau School District expects to receive full funding

The Juneau School Board approved an operating budget for fiscal year 2020 at a special meeting on March 26, 2019. (Photo by Zoe Grueskin/KTOO)
The Juneau School Board approved an operating budget for fiscal year 2020 at a special meeting on March 26, 2019. (Photo by Zoe Grueskin/KTOO)

The Juneau School District Board of Education approved a budget for the upcoming school year back in March. But it was prepared to revisit the numbers this July in the event of major cuts to state education spending.

It’s now July, but even though Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s administration has challenged the legality of this year’s school funding, school board president Brian Holst said so far the district hasn’t changed its plan to spend those funds.

“If they fail to emerge, we would need to revisit, but at this point we are still counting on those resources to flow to the school district as appropriated by the Legislature,” he said.

Holst said the district still expects to receive its usual per-student state funding, as well as its share of the one-time $30 million education grant forward-funded by the Legislature in 2018.

But the school district will be affected by a few of the governor’s line-item vetoes to the state operating budget. Holst said they’ll lose out on $150,000 in state support for pre-K programs. An increase in city funding will balance that out.

“So the effect is that our programming will continue as the previous year,” he said. “But we are foiled in our attempt to expand the program to include more kids.”

A more substantial cost to the city will come in the form of school bond debt. Dunleavy vetoed half of what school districts expected to receive in state reimbursement for construction costs. That leaves the city of Juneau on the hook for $3.7 million.

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