Jerilyn, Jaylynne and Justin Gasmen on the first day of school at Mt. Eccles Elementary. Photo by Kinsey Brown for The Cordova Times

Cordova School District and its school board may be looking to the city of Cordova again soon for additional funding to help pay for everything from teachers to breakfast and lunch programs, unless the Legislature is able to agree on a substantial increase in the Base Student Allocation (BSA). 

“The school district might ask for additional funding from the city, which would then have to be approved by a vote of the City Council,” City Clerk Susan Bourgeois said Wednesday in an email responding to a question on the city’s role in funding the school district. “There is a maximum amount the city can fund the schools at and I believe over the past several years the city has been funding Cordova School District at the max or very close to the max.” 

Bourgeois also said that the City Council has not acted as a body to comment on Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s charter school initiative. 

Mayor David Allison was unavailable for direct comment. 

In support of an increase to the BSA, Allison wrote a letter on March 14 to Dunleavy asking him not to veto Senate Bill 140, which included an increased BSA.  

That same night Dunleavy vetoed the legislation. 


The next day Allison wrote a similar letter to every legislator in Juneau, asking them to vote to override the governor’s veto.  
“City Council did give the mayor direction to write those letters, so I would say the city’s opinion that the city was in agreement with an increase to the BSA,” Bourgeois said. 
In his letter to the governor, Allison urged Dunleavy to sign SB 140 into law “because it is desperately needed by school districts cross the state of Alaska.” 

“Local governments cannot keep up with inflation and continue to support their school districts at the maximum allowed by state statue,” Allison told the governor. 

“The state of Alaska needs to support education and the youth of Alaska by stepping up the per student support annually,” he said. 

While the Legislature was insightful and worked across party lines to arrive at an unprecedented increase to the BSA of $640 per student that is included in SB 140, that is only one third of the amount that would have been required to keep up with inflation, Allison said.  

He credited legislators for coming together in a common goal, listening first and foremost to constituents who spoke passionately about the need for this boost in the BSA. 

“Please sign SB 140 or allow it to become law to assist with the burden local communities have so that we may continue working together to bolster Alaska’s education system,” he wrote. 

After Dunleavy’s veto of SB 140, legislators are still trying to reach a compromise that may boost funds to educate students in K-12 schools statewide. 

The number of cost-saving options under consideration by the school board range from cutting staff, funds for extracurricular activities, and teaching staff. 

This story was originally published in the April 5 issue of The Cordova Times.