At a special meeting last Friday, The Wrangell Assembly voted to give the local school district $165,000 less than what it was hoping for.
The approval of the city’s contribution to the district was delayed to the last minute. The assembly said it would hold out for more financial information from the district to make its decision.
But Mayor Steve Prysunka said seeing the district’s spending didn’t matter much in the end. The city will soon approve a budget with about a $.5 million dollar deficit. The city will reach into its reserves to cover that gap. So the mayor thinks the schools should have to do the same.
The city contribution to the district totals $1.3 million from federal secure rural schools funding. The schools have about a million dollars in reserves, though it’s unsure exactly how that can be spent.
Folks from the school board and school staff attended anxiously. “We are going to have to decide what class gets cut, what service gets cut,” School Board Representative Annya Ritchie said.
School Board Representative Aaron Angerman understands cuts are necessary, but he hoped it could have been more gradual.
The district has already decided to go with one less teacher at the elementary school, and just a part-time art teacher.
The state has yet to approve a budget. The Governor supports a 25 percent cut to schools. The House and Senate support flat funding.