Have you ever met someone who is irrepressibly optimistic? Even to the point of irritation? Well, if I’ve ever complained about that type of person, I take it all back now. As I listen to the Alaska news, read articles and prepare for the CRSD budget process, I would welcome with open arms a busload of optimistic people.
From the revenue perspective, the news is bad and keeps getting worse. While the Governor and Legislature work out a long-term plan, we’ll need to develop a budget for the 2016-2017 school year. It won’t be easy. More than likely, revenue will be down and expenses will increase. The CRSD Board will be negotiating new contracts with the Copper Valley Teacher’s Association, Copper Valley Classified Association and its administrators. The Board has to balance our revenue with the need to attract and retain quality educators.
The timing of the CRSD budget development process is dependent on decisions made in Juneau. We can only guess at revenue until bills are passed and signed by the Governor. We will monitor proposed legislation and the debates in Juneau to keep our guesses educated, but final numbers and decisions won’t be made until we know how much funding we will receive for the 2016-2017 school year. Like last year, the Legislature may require an extended session into the summer.
It all begins here in the office as we calculate enrollment and revenue based on current funding. We also monitor the chatter from Juneau regarding possible cuts, or as in the old days, possible funding increases. This goes on for several weeks as the Legislative session gets up to speed. In February or early March, we’ll have a budget committee meeting to share what we know up to that point. The administrator will also share that information at each school, usually at an ASB meeting. Revisions and updates to the numbers will be made repeatedly as schools identify priorities, numbers adjust due to staffing changes (i.e. resignations, new hires, negotiations, etc.), and information comes to us from Juneau. I will travel to each school in April or early May to share our budget recommendations, based on what we know about potential funding. In June, the Board will have a work session to potentially make final changes and vote on a FY17 budget. All meetings are announced on the radio, through our website and social media. Each Board meeting includes an opportunity for public comment.
Your ideas and questions are also welcomed by phone call, email or a visit to the district office. 822-3234, ext. 223, firstname.lastname@example.org.
In all of our deliberations, I hope our students see us do democracy well. Their hopes,
dreams, and preparation for the future should not rise and fall with the price of oil. Instead, by our example during uncertain times, I hope they come to appreciate the stable bedrock of character and citizenship.