Mat-Su Borough looks to change school funding
Matanuska-Susitna Borough Mayor Vern Halter wants to change the way the borough funds the school district.
At the borough’s joint meeting with the school board on Tuesday night, Halter said the borough needed to reform the out-of-date way it provides money for schools.
“It’s obsolete, so I’m going to ask we rewrite this section to update local support from the Mat-Su Borough,” Halter said. “So that we can have an updated code section we can faithfully say that we are following.”
The borough currently gives about $55 million to the district.
Superintendent Dr. Monica Goyette said the Mat-Su School District is one of the five largest in the state, but in local funding, it receives the lowest percentage of the state’s maximum allowable amount of money per student, compared to Anchorage, Fairbanks, Kenai and Juneau.
The district’s 2016-2017 approved budget shows Mat-Su was projected to receive $2,967 per student that fiscal year, while Juneau was projected $5,311.
Goyette said if Mat-Su was funded similar to Anchorage—which has about a 98-percent maximum allowable amount—it would have meant an additional $20 million.
"There’s a wide range in what the borough can give. We really believe students’ education in the Valley is worth just as much as in Anchorage or Fairbanks and really would like to see more parity in funding,” Goyette said.
Halter asked the borough manager and several other board members to look into rewriting that section of the code.
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