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Nome school district budget presented to city, board of education

Exterior building of Nome Beltz Highschool
Nome Beltz Highschool. Photo by Brisa Alarcon, KNOM.

The Nome Public Schools FY-24 final budget draft was presented to the Nome Common Council and board of education this week.

The budget calls for a revenue projection of just more than $15.84 million. Expenditures for FY-24 are balanced at the $15.84 million amount.

The budget assumes Base Student Allocation funding at $5,960 per pupil, according to the presentation. The district is also budgeting for a $3.2 million City of Nome appropriation, which is 86% of the maximum allowable under law.

Districtwide, enrollment for the next fiscal year is projected at 693 students. It is the goal of the district each year to spend as much as possible on every enrolled student and their education, Superintendent Jamie Burgess said.

“Our goal is to budget well so that we spend our money on behalf of our students and our staff, and we’re not trying to stash anything away,” Burgess said.

Ten percent of the district’s budget goes to overall administration, according to Burgess.

“So, that includes basically everybody in our district office, our directors of special education, our technology director, our whole technology team, with exception of one individual who also teaches,” Burgess said. “Our director of federal programs, human resources, myself, principals, assistant principals, those all come under administration.”

The administration of the district office is an even smaller chunk at 2%; most of the funding, Burgess says, goes to students in the classrooms.

“District office administration is only 2% of the entire budget, so we are not administratively heavy.” Burgess said. “Sixty-five percent of our budget goes directly to students in the form of instruction.”

Among the teachers and instructors employed by Nome Public Schools, the highest percentage are certified by the state.

“Seventy percent of our personnel budget goes to certificated staff or teachers that by law after hold some type of certificate from the state of Alaska,” Burgess said. “Thirty percent of them are considered classified, which means they do not have to hold a certificate from the state of Alaska.”

The budget will see utility bills paid by the district remain close to the status quo, except for heating fuel, which has a price tag of approximately $950,000 between bulk fuel purchases and transportation of fuel.

One major project that needs addressing is a leaking roof at Nome-Beltz High School. In fact, many of the systems at Nome-Beltz are aging. Burgess says the school is in its 60th year and is beginning to show signs of getting old. Nome Elementary School also has roof issues that need to be addressed.

“The core systems of the building have not necessarily been upgraded,” Burgess said. “So, there’s electrical work to be done at the Beltz campus, and we are finding a lot of things that are out of code. There’s some plumbing work to be done at the Beltz campus. The elementary school, which is only 35 years old, its roof is now at the end of its life. So, we’re starting to see some persistent issues with roof leaks, etc.”

The adoption of the FY-24 budget is set for Tuesday, April 25 during a special session of the board of education.

Image at top: Nome Beltz High School. Photo by Brisa Alarcon/KNOM.

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