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School District makes budget presentations around Mat Su

by Lorien Nettleton ~ February 12th, 2013

To help inform parents and the public about the budget process, the Mat Su Borough School District is holding a series of informational open houses around the borough this month to discuss the budget. This week, School District Chief Financial Officer Luke Fulp was at Su Valley Junior/Senior High on Tuesday evening to talk about what was in store for the district in 2013 and beyond.

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Mat Su Borough School District is heading for a funding deficit based on current projections. That’s according to School District’s new Chief Financial Officer Luke Fulp.

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Last year the School District made an appeal to the Borough Assembly for a minimum increase to avoid cutting teachers, and the Assembly approved a budget increase that accounted for inflation. The School District didn’t get everything it had asked for, but the worst-case scenario of teacher layoffs was avoided. The issue hasn’t gone away, though, and once more, the District will need to see an increase in revenues if it hopes to avoid ongoing defecits.

The Mat Su Borough spends more than the minimum required allocation per student, chipping in $2-thousand, 887 dollars per pupil, compared to 3,386 per student in Fairbanks, 4,128 in anchorage, and a whopping 10,701 in Juneau.

Part of the key to the budget issues falcon Transportation costs, which the State has subsidized on a year-by-year basis to the tune of 1.5 million dollars granted annually. Another factor is State Retirement and benefits for teachers.

Fulp says the goals of the Open Houses are to break the District’s budget process down so people can easily see where the money comes from.

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The District is also conducting a survey about the resident’s priorities. Among other things, the survey asks participants to rate how important educational initiatives such as Class size, school choice, and added-value programs like Science, Technology, Engineering and Math are to them.

The open house budget presentation and priorities survey can both be found on the school district’s website:

School District Priorities Survey

Budget Open House Presentation [pdf]

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