In an effort to create some movement on building a new school in Kachemak-Selo, Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce is asking the state legislature to restructure the school funding received from the state. In a letter last week to Superintendent John O’Brien, Pierce suggested building a combination school/community hall in the small Old Believer village instead.
In asking for the funding source to be changed from the Department of Education and Early Development to the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development, Pierce hopes to sidestep the local matching funds required for a school.
The legislature approved a state share of $10.9 million on the $16.7 million project, which required a local contribution of almost $6 million. The assembly has been unable to appropriate the funds, and voters in 2018 voted down a ballot measure to sell bonds to fund the project.
By separating the money, Pierce says the structure can be built to standards that would not necessarily meet the education department’s requirements, and therefore can be built with the money onhand.
Pierce is asking the school board to consider the approach and advise the assembly.