Next year, the Unalaska City School District (UCSD) will draw on one third of its savings to fund a $7.7 million budget.
The board of education approved the 2019 financial plan last week, voting unanimously to tap reserve funds and ride out another shortfall.
“We’re going to end up taking $210,000 out of the fund balance, which is going to bring us down to about $400,000 left,” said board member Frank Kelty. “We don’t have a lot of money to play with.”
Still, Unalaska’s in better shape than many school districts across the state.
Others have made deep cuts to staff and activities as public education funding flatlines. But Kelty said UCSD has maintained its programs, in large part, thanks to the city’s port revenue.
“We don’t know how lucky we really are here,” he said. “As the saying goes, ‘Pollock provides.’ We’ve got to hope fisheries stay strong, because if we have any large downturn, we’re going to be in the same position as some of these other districts.”
For 2019, the school board is hoping to receive $4.1 million from the City of Unalaska, which will consider the request next month.
If that money is approved and state funding remains status quo, UCSD’s budget will grow about 8 percent over this year. Most of that increase will go toward two new teachers to keep up with growing enrollment.