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Juneau School District 2014 budget proposals nearing completion
Published: 02/22/2013 11:10:00
The process to craft the Juneau School District budget for next year has been proceeding, most visibly in an advisory budget committee composed of representatives from across the school district.

Budget Committee Chair Barbara Thurston gave us an update: "The budget committee has had I think 6 meetings, and is in the middle of trying to finalize the proposals that will be presented to the school board. And they've received lots of information from the administration, a lot of good questions, and now they're trying to reconcile some of their priorities of what things they want to make sure get funded when the reality is that if things get funded, then something else will need to get cut."

The budget committee starts with the Juneau School District's budget proposal, and then weighs in public input and views from committee members who represent most stakeholder groups in the district. By starting with a balanced budget proposal, the committee can suggest ways to move funds to higher priority areas within the district.

Thurston says that there's a lot of discussion going on about how to best use funds. "It's always easier to find something that you'd like to add back into the budget than things that you'd like to subtract from the budget. So there certainly have been potential increases being discussed. The budget as a whole is about a $1.7 million decrease from last year, so there's lots of decreases built into the administration's proposed budget but the budget committee will be making a proposal to make revisions to that.

Public input has played a major part in the process. "We started the process by asking people for ideas for cuts. This was even before the administration produced theirs, they were soliciting ideas. People who are in the trenches often can identify some things that maybe we don't need. Since the administration has made their proposal, most of the comments we have been receiving have been on issues related to that; things that were proposed to be cut or were proposed to not be increased that people where hoping we would be increasing. So we're hearing a lot about that" said Thurston.

The budget committee will meet one more time this coming Tuesday for final discussions before presenting their proposed version of the budget to the school board on March 5th. The public can comment at the march 5th meeting or online via email from the district's website linked below where the proposed budget is also posted.

By: Mikko Wilson -