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School Board discusses budget, calendar

Daily News Staff Writer

It’s a new year and a fresh start for the Ketchikan School Board.

On Wednesday, the School Board had its first regular meeting of 2018, and much of the meeting revolved around discussion of big-picture items like the fiscal year 2019 budget and the 2018-2019 district calendar.

Superintendent Bob Boyle spent much of the meeting explaining parts of the anticipated program-based budget. One of the points he discussed pertained to state funding. He noted that there was some uncertainty relating to funds from the state government, as legislators are still grappling to produce a fiscal plan for the state.

Boyle did say that staff has been basing its calculations on state allocations being flat-funded, that is, not changing. Flat-funding education is part of Gov. Bill Walker’s budget proposal.

State funding is decided using a metric called Average Daily Membership. Boyle explained to the School Board that staff has estimated next year’s ADM at 2,220 — the same number as this year.

Boyle explained that the reason they held steady with 2,200 ADM is because when the graduating class is examined as well as the incoming kindergarten class, the numbers should be about the same.

“We’re stable,” Boyle said.

One of the biggest changes in the working budget is that district administration has urged the School Board to request an extra $200,000 from the Ketchikan Gateway Borough’s discretionary spending for the district.

School Board President Trevor Shaw explained that the School Board and the Assembly have generally had very amicable relations regarding budgetary discussions in recent years, a trend he expects to continue.

“We’ve created a good dialogue there in that (budget) process,” Shaw said. “It has been very successful.”

The working budget is available to view on school district website. Boyle encouraged those interested to look through it.

“You can really dig into this budget if you wish,” Boyle said.

The School Board also gave initial approval for the 2018-2019 school district calendar.

The calendar was drawn up by a committee of staff, who met and tried to focus on what was and wasn’t working from years past. The committee members came from schools all across the district.

After initially meeting, those on the committee asked for input from teachers and staff at their respective schools. From there, and with those recommendations in mind, a calendar was created.

Now that the calendar has been approved on first reading, it must be approved once more in order to become concrete. Discussion and voting on that will take place at the School Board's Jan. 24 meeting.

Boyle noted that he would appreciate and encourage the Ketchikan community’s thoughts regarding the calendar.

“What I’m hopeful for is a lot of community input,” Boyle said. “… We have two more weeks for our community to review it.”

Also during the Wednesday’s meeting the School Board:

• Heard from Kathleen Light, executive director of the Ketchikan Area Arts and Humanities Council. She noted that there are currently 200 student-produced art pieces on display at the Main Street Gallery. Light said the art came from students in multiple schools around the area.

• Listened to remarks from two Kayhi students and members of the Drama, Debate and Forensics team. The team is seeking judges for a DDF competition being held Jan. 19 and 20 in Ketchikan. 100 time slots need to be filled with judges for the meet. To find out more, visit: www.kgbsd.org/DDF.

• Heard a presentation from Women in Safe Homes Prevention Manager Arika Paquette, who explained how home life and trauma affect how students behave and perform at school.

• Heard an update from Boyle on the Houghtaling Elementary School roof replacement project.

• Heard a report from student member Michael Starr.

The next School Board meeting will be held on Jan 24.