Borough, school district reach agreement on fund balance

FAIRBANKS, Alaska - The Borough Assembly and the School District have reached an agreement about how much of a fund balance the school district is allowed to hold onto. At Thursday night's meeting, the Borough Assembly, after collaborating with the school district, passed a substitute ordinance that aimed to make both sides happier.

"I'm mostly here to say thank you, especially to the mayor, for working so closely with us and having a good dialogue on this issue,' said FNSB Superintendent Karen Gaborik.

"I feel like what the school district is doing is an olive branch, and my instinct is to reach out and grab it," said Aaron Lojewski with the FNSB Assembly.

The substitute ordinance states that the school district can retain no more than 40 percent of the funds that the borough contributes. The ordinance also has the school district spending $7 million of their current fund balance on roof replacement projects for Ben Eielson Junior/Senior High School and Woodriver Elementary School.

"By making this fund balance lower, we're spending more money each year on the students, and that's what I think is what's most important," said Liz Lyke with the FNSB Assembly.

If the school district does not enter into a Memorandum of Agreement with the borough before January 31, 2019, then those funds will be moved back into the borough's maintenance reserve fund for school district facilities.