The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

By Lee Revis
Editor, Valdez Star 

Sixth graders head to jr high next year

School board approves budget but much work remains


The board of education for Valdez City Schools tentatively passed its $12 million-plus 2012/13 fiscal budget Monday night.

Before its unanimous passage, the board approved moving next year’s sixth grade class from Hermon Hutchens Elementary School to Gilson Junior High, which will increase district funding by $116,000 when savings and state funding formulas change with the move.

The final implementation of the approved budget now rests on the shoulders of the Valdez City Council.

This is due to the fact the board must first ask for – and receive – an additional $246,387 in city funding to balance the budget. The council must also approve the district budget once it is balanced, whether or not the council agrees to increase its funding.

“It’s going to be a tentative,” budget, District superintendent Jacob Jensen told the board before the vote, though he said he is confident the additional city funding will be approved.

“I think it’s a reasonable request,” Jensen said.

Source: Valdez City Schools website

Amber Cockerham is the Business Manager for Valdez City Schools and explained to the board with its budgetary options.

Earlier in the budget process, Jensen said there was a $574,000 deficit. District administration later whittled the deficit down to $341,500 at its two public budget hearings based on the assumption there would be additional funding and savings by moving the sixth grade class to the junior high, combined with savings from efficiencies from building improvements and rolling $100,000 in unallocated funding forward from the current budget.

The board could move forward with its city council funding request as soon as April 16, the next regularly scheduled council meeting. If the council approves the additional $246,387 funding request, the city will be funding education to “the cap” which is the maximum allowed by state law.

The City of Valdez provides $9,194,896 in educational funding, and pays for additional programs – such as student activities - outside of the cap.


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