ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The Anchorage School District can expect a bigger increase in funding from city property taxes over last year.
That's after a debate at Anchorage Assembly chambers questioning why the school district should get more money when enrollment numbers are projected to fall next year.
The Assembly’s Tuesday night meeting was meant to be an indication to the school district, before it puts together its budget, about how much money it can expect from Anchorage property tax payers.
School officials came away with more money than originally proposed.
Assembly member Patrick Flynn voted to give them ASD a 1.6 percent increase, the same increase that the city is asking Anchorage homeowners to pay next year.
Flynn says the increase is important because the school district didn't ask for any voter bonds this year which could have improved some school facilities and because they didn't get an increase last year.
“Holding the school district, essentially, flat for a second year might be particularly excessive, particularly after we held them flat last year,” said Flynn.
The increase would amount to more than $3 million more than last year, a total contribution to the school district budget of more than $196 million.
“It's an awfully tough burden to continue to keep coming to the property tax payers for an ever increasing budget,” said Assembly member Bill Starr. “Basically, I don't think we're going to be able to keep up. How are you going to be able to balance that budget?”
“We're going to look at every single thing. There will be program cuts. There will be layoffs,” said ASD Superintendent Carol Comeau.
The Assembly voted for the increase by a vote of 6 to 4.