Action Line: Juneau Superintendent discusses budgeting difficulties for coming school year

    Superintendent Mark Miller was a guest on Action Line Thursday, where he expressed incredulity at legislation that has passed versus what hasn't.

    Juneau School District Superintendent Mark Miller was asked on Action Line Thursday to describe the district's budget situation in the wake of legislative deliberations and vetoes by Governor Walker.

    The superintendent talked about the eight ball he uses in his futile attempts to predict legislative decisions, nothing that he - and his eight ball - are perplexed by the process.

    "You know, it's funny," began Miller. "The legislature passed some legislation around things like how many minutes of recess and P.E. kids should have, or that we have to let parents know who the guest speaker is when it comes to human reproduction education. All these absolutely key, "the world will stop if it doesn't pass" pieces of legislation have passed, but yet we still can't work out a budget any time that allows us to do budgeting. And then we've got the governor's veto, which pulled about $3 million or so out of our budget, mostly in transportation. It hit CBJ pretty hard. The things that really make a difference to us aren't getting decided until after all of our contracts are signed and we've promised jobs to everybody, and we have almost no ability to make any meaningful changes to our budget. Yet, we're sitting around talking about how many minutes of recess a kid should have; I guess I'm not quite there."

    So, we asked the superintendent to describe the district's budget situation at this point.

    "If I had my 8-Ball, I think it would come up and say "I Don't Have a Clue." Some people are saying the governor's veto may or may not be legal, and so there may be challenges to that. Exactly what the percent of funding that will go through, nobody is quite sure. It's probably going to take another couple of months at least for our final audits for this year. I've been told sometime around November or December is when we'll have a really firm handle on what our bottom line is and what we're getting. And that's halfway through the school year, which makes it even more difficult to make adjustments."

    The superintendent drew an analogy to a boat taking on water and doing nothing about it.

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