Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

Dunleavy's proposed cut could hurt school programs


February 7, 2019

Buying new equipment for the high school’s automotive vocational education classroom could be axed if Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s proposal to cut $20 million in education funding moves forward.

The legislature appropriated the additional education funding last year, and the Haines Borough School District is set to receive $44,272 of the $20 million. Expecting those funds, the school board approved purchasing $12,000 in equipment for the automotive class and money for other programs, superintendent Roy Getchell said. “It is interesting to note that several of the budget revisions we made last month supported things the governor is in support of, like improving equipment and materials for career and technical education programs.”

The school board adopted this year’s budget, including the appropriation, last summer and some of the money has already been spent in anticipation of those funds, Getchell said.

“We have to look at where we have already spent money and make some hard decisions about where to take it from,” Getchell said. “Luckily, we’re in good shape but we’d have to adjust our budget accordingly to make up for that shortfall.”

The state is withholding the funding that was supposed be delivered to the district by now.

Dunleavy’s proposed cut might be illegal, according to an Anchorage Daily News report that quoted Alaska Senate education committee chairman Gary Stevens.

By withholding the funds, the Dunleavy administration is violating the Legislature’s authority to appropriate money, Stevens said in the report. The Alaska Constitution allows the governor to veto the Legislature’s spending, but the governor’s power to veto ends after the budget is passed, as it was last year when the education appropriation was approved.

The school board discussed the proposal at its meeting this week. school board member Sarah Chapell told the CVN that the district is counting on the money. “We’re counting on the legislature to uphold their commitment to Alaska schools.”

Dunleavy is expected to introduce a revised budget next week that includes $1.6 billion in cuts, according to the Daily News.

“All residents in Alaska, and folks that are interested in our government are definitely keeping their ear to the ground to see what’s going to be coming, because there are going to be some big changes and we need to know what those are,” Getchell said.


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