Commentary: Secure Rural Schools Funding – Additional money for schools? Not according to the City.

By Kristy Andrew

For The Cordova Times

In October 2018, the city of Cordova received $630,720.68 in forest receipts recently re-authorized under the Secure Rural Schools Act (SRSA), recorded the revenue in its books, and earmarked $579,623.68 for schools.

You might think this would be a great opportunity to provide the school district with much needed additional funding, but the city doesn’t see it that way. Instead of allocating these unanticipated funds to schools, the city maintained its previously budgeted contribution.

If you’ve been following City Council meetings, you may have noticed there was no change to the 2018 budget allocating this new money to schools, and so the school district received only the amount of funding originally appropriated within the 2018 budget, $1,500,000.

You may hear some councilmembers state that these funds did go to the schools, which if correct, would entail substituting the General Fund allocation with the SRSA Funds, resulting in a net zero gain to school district support, and a $579k gain to the City’s General Fund bottom line.


At a time when the schools are in need of adequate financial support, the city was gifted a unique opportunity: additional funds to meet (or exceed) the school district’s request. An opportunity which would not reduce the Permanent Fund, would not negatively affect other city programs, and would be supplemental to the city’s original appropriation. Why the city has chosen not to take advantage of this is still unknown.

The city is expecting, and has budgeted revenue for, another $580,000 in Forest Receipts for schools in 2019. Similar to 2018, the 2019 budget does not reflect an appropriation of these funds.

In summary, your schools continue to need your support. This conversation must go on. Please stay informed and let your voice be heard at upcoming City Council and school board meetings.

Kristy Andrew has been working and living in Cordova for the past two and a half years.