School budget passes council muster
City funds education to the max allowed by law – and more
The Valdez City Council unanimously passed the school district’s budget that was submitted for next year’s education funding.
The city funds the lion’s share of educational costs in Valdez and for the next school year it will provide over $10 million of the district’s $15 million budget.
“This amount includes “funding to the cap” and beyond as defined by State statute,” the city managers agenda statement to council said.
Before the vote, council members Jeremy Miner and Ruth Knight attempted to abstain from voting on the matter stating both had a conflict of interest. Miner is married to a teacher in the district; Knight is a long-time educator in Valdez City Schools.
Bill Walker, city attorney, explained that neither council member needed to abstain due to the fact that while they were approving the funding, neither of them had actual authority over how the budget is actually spend. The actual distribution of funds is apportioned by a separate elected body, the board of education. The district’s administrator then executes the budget.
Before the vote, Rod Morrison, principal of Gilson Middle School, answered a number of cursory budget questions from council members. Morrison was standing in for Dr. Lisa Stroh, district superintendent, who Morrison said was ill and could not make the meeting.
Council member Mike Wells also expressed appreciation that the district cut its city funding request of $400,000 after the district learned that its insurance would drop by that amount for next year.