April 9, 2010 • Vol. XXXIII, No. 6

Funny Bunny

This year’s Buckwheat Ski Classic was a barrel of laughs for everyone from bunny skiers, like the one above, to the skiing elite. Link to more photos and results at BSC Webquarters.

Photo by Andrew Cremata

Man cited for shooting dog north of town

Thought it was a coyote; shots startle dog owner, other woman on other side of river; no shooting boundaries likely will be moved

By JEFF BRADY

A Skagway man has been cited by police under the municipality’s Cruelty to Animals code for shooting a domestic dog in the riverbed north of town on Monday night. The dog’s owner and a friend were just across the river and one of them dropped to the ground when the shot rang out.
The shooting has numerous people upset, and the incident’s close proximity to town has Police Chief Ray Leggett seriously looking into expanding the no shooting boundary. After investigating the incident, he called it “a very unfortunate accident.”
Luke Rauscher, who shot the animal at dusk on the east side of the river just north of Reid Falls creek, said he thought it was a coyote and regrets having killed the dog. But he said he probably will contest the citation because the act was unintentional.
“I feel horrible about what happened,” Rauscher said. “It was not intentional by any means. I know what dogs mean to people – they are part of the family – and I know what it’s like to lose a dog. But I go out there a fair bit, as do a few other guys, and that’s where you see coyotes traversing from one side of the river to the other. It’s unfortunate it ended up being her dog. But it was not intentional. It had no collar and it was right at dusk. It’s just a bad scenario. I do feel sorry about it. It resembled a coyote pretty closely.”
The owner, Katherine Moseley, said she was just across the river on the west side walking her three dogs with a friend, Laura Downing. They had stopped by the old tank farm bio-cell and sat down on some rocks, while two of the dogs ventured down into the riverbed. When they saw lights flashing from a vehicle across the river near the Gold Rush Cemetery, they were concerned and called the dogs – Boose, a husky-lab mix, and Shae, a brown-colored husky-cross – and started walking south, sometime between 8:30 and 9 p.m.
“I saw Boose and Shae running along the riverbed,” Moseley said. “We called again, and turned around, and a shot went off. I turned around and Laura had dropped to the ground because she thought we were being shot at.”
She called police and her husband Eric and started worrying about the dogs, which had not shown up. A little later, Boose, came to them “barking in a frantic state,” but Shae was not with her.
From his viewpoint on the other side of the river, Rauscher said he never saw the two women. He said he had pulled up just north of the historic cemetery, and flashed the lights off and on to get a better view of the riverbed. He said he got out and went down to a rock where there’s a good vantage point and shot north, down into the riverbed where he had seen the animal, about 250 yards away. He said it had come across the river and then ran out on the riverbed and got closer.
“It looked like a coyote, around the same size, maybe a little chunkier,” he said. “It had a brown tint to it. But I usually see them a little further out.”
Moseley said she accepts Rauscher’s belief that he thought Shae was a coyote, but she explained that the dog weighed about twice that of a coyote. She also wonders how close Shae really was to Downing and her, saying police never walked the west side where they were, which she says was right across from where the dog was found the next morning. She said the dog appeared to be “at close range.”
“I do believe he thought he shot a coyote but I’m concerned that he didn’t know the difference between a coyote and a domestic dog,” she said. “Shae was an 80-pound dog and was most likely going up to greet him because she was a happy-go-lucky dog.”
Rauscher said he shot the animal in a legal hunting area.
“I’m aware of the area (shooting line at Reid Falls creek across to Dyea Road turnoff) and know you can’t shoot across (the river) toward a state highway,” he said.
By the time Moseley had driven over the bridge to the other side, Police Officer Rick Ackerman and Rauscher were out in the riverbed with flashlights looking for the animal. She said Rauscher came up to talk to her, and she asked him if he just shot her dog.
“He said ‘I just shot a coyote,’ and then I asked where, and he turned and pointed in the general direction that Laura and I were sitting,” Moseley said. “When he pointed in that direction, I said, ‘you just shot my dog and we were just sitting over there.’”
She said Rauscher was not sure if he had hit the dog. “All he could say was ‘I don’t know, I’m so sorry.’”
Rauscher said it wasn’t until Ackerman showed up and Moseley and her husband Eric came over and mentioned that the dog looked like a coyote that he realized his mistake. “I was hoping I missed it, but that wasn’t the case,” he said.
They all looked for the dog well into the evening. Moseley was out there until 3 a.m. Tuesday. But it was Rauscher who found the dog later that morning. Moseley said she got the call from her husband about 7:45 a.m. that Shae had been found and would be brought over to her. Three hours later, after cleaning up the dog, Rauscher dropped her off and apologized again.
Moseley said she went out later in the day to look at the site and found dog food sprinkled nearby. She said she also had talked to someone who had seen what they thought was a dead cat hanging from a tree in the area as possible bait. Leggett said they checked it out and found nothing. Rauscher said he does not bait coyotes.
After investigating the incident much of Tuesday, and receiving many phone calls about the incident, Leggett said he looked at how to approach it “within the scope of the law.”
The incident was not a violation of state law, he said, but there was a section of municipal code under the Animal Cruelty chapter that applied.
He decided to cite Rauscher under Chapter 6.02.C, which states: “It is unlawful for any person to poison, shoot or otherwise kill any domestic animal except for reasons and in accordance with procedures specifically set forth elsewhere in this title or in state law at AS 03.55.010 through 03.55.030 (these statutes pertain to defense against vicious dogs). In the event a person accidentally injures a domestic animal with a motor vehicle or by other accidental means, that person shall stop at the scene of the accident and render such assistance as he can, shall make reasonable effort to locate the owner and identify himself to the owner or to any person having custody of the animal, and shall report the accident immediately to the police department.”
The magistrate could fine Rauscher up to $300 for the offense.
Leggett said the dog did not have to be on a leash, as it was north of the highway bridge. However municipal code says dogs in that area must be in range of voice commands from its owner, and apparently it was not. Still, the dog was clearly not a danger and was shot.
“It was an honest mistake, but he shot a domestic animal,” Leggett said.
He added that although Moseley and Downing felt the shots were close, that they just sounded close down along the river, and that the evidence concluded that Rauscher wasn’t putting anyone else in danger. The dog was shot in the head.
Moseley, however, still questions the evidence since police were not present when Rauscher found the dog, alleging it could have been moved. But the chief maintains the two women were further away than they thought from the site of the kill. Moseley worries the bullet still could have strayed or ricocheted and hit them.
Leggett added later, “My hands are really tied. It’s a very unfortunate accident and it was sad to lose the dog, but no one got hurt. Still, we need to reduce that possibility in the future.”
Leggett said he talked with members of the Public Safety Committee this week, and there will be a meeting in the near future to draft a resolution to expand the no shooting boundaries. They are looking at extending the line as far north as Scott Logan’s residence past Liarsville, and within 200 yards of any residence on the Dyea Road. Leggett said they should have a resolution ready to introduce by the Borough Assembly’s first meeting in May.
Rauscher said he has mixed feelings about the proposal.
“I feel it’s a horrible thing the dog got shot,” he said. “But people walk dogs past Scott Logan’s and as far as 5A bridge (on the railroad). I don’t want to upset her, but if the dog had a collar I would not have shot it. It helps to ID the animal as being domestic…. I followed state rules and followed the regulations. Unfortunately my actions caused her to lose her dog. I’m real sorry for her.”
Moseley said they indeed lost a family member, and it was especially tough as it was the third animal they had lost in three months. An older dog died of cancer, a second was found in the river near the area of Monday’s shooting, and now, Shae.
Moseley, who founded Paws and Claws Rescue Shelter, adopted the dog from Angoon last year after strays were being rounded up and shot in that community. She said Shae was gentle and her young son’s favorite and best friend.
“Shae was just a great, great dog,” Moseley said. As my mom said, ‘Everyone thinks their dogs are special but Shae was even above that.’”

UPDATE: The Public Safety Committee meeting has been scheduled for 6 p.m. on Wednesday, April 21 at City Hall.

Lost in the mail

Little relief yet for understaffed PO

By ANDREW CREMATA

An unexpected half-day closure on March 26, combined with a perceived staffing problem at Skagway’s local branch of the United States Post Office, has municipal officials worried about potential postal problems during the upcoming tourist season.
Skagway Postmaster Elaine Brummett was in the post office during the final week of March after returning from a weeklong Postmaster’s Leadership Conference in Washington D.C. On the previous Friday, March 26, the branch was closed during the first half of the day when the only employee qualified to work the front counter, other than Brummett, took sick leave. It was the second time in as many months the post office has been closed. The previous closure was two days in early February.
With the busy summer tourist season looming, the recent closure prompted the Mayor Tom Cochran and the Skagway Borough Assembly to draft a letter voicing their concerns.
In an interview on March 30, Brummett said she was due to leave the Skagway office again for up to a month, starting on April 5, to assist a short-staffed Haines Post Office. She explained that Hoonah Postmaster Renee Jones would be filling in for an undisclosed amount of time, beginning on Tuesday of the first week of her absence.
Brummett confirmed reports that she had applied for the Haines postmaster position. She said it was likely she would be notified whether she got the job within a week’s time.
If she is awarded the job, Brummett said the Skagway postmaster position, “should be posted immediately,” and would take about a month to fill.
A part-time position at the post office, vacated last November, has not yet been filled. The post office requires jobs be posted internally, and Brummett said there was one interested candidate who had since reconsidered and withdrawn.
Alaska Manager of Post Office Operations Darus Macy said via telephone from Anchorage that she did not think there would be any trouble filling empty positions at the post office. When asked if it was realistic to expect a non-resident to take a part time job in Skagway, Macy said, ‘I think it’s realistic to think it could happen.”
She said there is currently a need for shuffling Southeast personnel around to various locations, and that the job would be ideal for someone who likes to travel.
Macy said her office was currently in the process of requesting to make the part-time job available for public hire because they recognized the need to fill the position. It is required the job be posted for two weeks before someone is hired, and it is unclear when the “process” of requesting the job be made available to the public would be completed.
Macy said she didn’t foresee any trouble finding someone to temporarily fill in at the Skagway office as employees from other Southeast Alaska offices were well-staffed and could fill in by request. She also said that a person from another office could be shuffled into the Skagway office if Brummett is hired for the Haines postmaster job, even though it could take a month or more to find a replacement.
Macy said the Hoonah postmaster had an employee in place to fill in during her absence, making it possible for her to come and assist in Skagway.
As of the morning of Tuesday, April 6, Hoonah Postmaster Jones had not reported to the Skagway office. There was confusion among employees at the local branch over whether Jones’ flight might have been delayed, but they had not been notified as to why Jones had not arrived.
From Haines via telephone, Brummett said she was frustrated by the no-show and was looking into it.
Jones was contacted at the Hoonah Post Office. She said she was short- staffed and could not leave her own office stranded. She said she had previously informed Macy there could be delays because her own clerk had medical issues. She said she was trying to get a hold of Macy but had been unsuccessful as of 11 a.m. that day.
Jones was unsure if, and when, she might be arriving in Skagway and said much of the problem was that several offices in the region were short-staffed. This echoed comments made previously by Brummett that there currently were not enough people to borrow from other Southeast offices.
Jones said that shuffling employees was difficult due to the staffing shortfalls, and that they would need to be covered before she could come to Skagway.
At noon, Jones said via telephone she had spoken with Macy and that the revised plan was for her to come to Skagway on Wednesday. She arrived around 11 a.m. and will stay though Friday. Jones said she understood Skagway residents’ concern over postal operations for the upcoming tourist season, and added that in Hoonah “tourism is not just a summer thing, it’s a year-round thing.”
Macy stated that this year’s plan for the Skagway office included a full staff for the upcoming summer season, which would constitute three regular employees working the counter and two “casuals” who assist with sorting mail. This is one more casual employee than last year, and would bring staffing of the office back to 2008 levels.
Even though the post office had been closed for a two-day stretch in Feb., another half day in March, and it continues to be closed from 11:30 to 12:30, Macy said the desire was to not have it closed at all.
It remains to be seen whether the positions in the Skagway office will be filled and if not, how it will be possible for the current staff to keep up with the daily requirements.
Brummett said if she gets the Haines position, she could see herself being asked to fill in at the Skagway office if circumstances become dire.
With the cruise ship season less than a month away, the current status of the post office is two full-time employees and one casual. If Brummett moves to Haines, there will be only one full-time employee in the Skagway office. So far, there has been no posting for either the part-time hire or the other causal hire, and no word on the status of the local postmaster’s position.
In an effort to reassure Skagway residents about the status of the local post office, Macy concluded the interview by offering, “We’re not going away.”

Cuts all around: First draft of school budget presented

By JEFF BRADY

A draft $2.06 million operating budget for the next school year was presented by interim superintendent Les McCormick and business services manager Kathy Pierce to the Skagway School Board on March 29.
The proposed budget comes with a $1,661,532 funding request to the municipality, which includes $409,752 for program needs outside the operating fund. The total request is $130,757 less than what the borough funded for the current year.
Most programs across the board are seeing cuts due to reduced enrollment.
In her budget overview letter, Pierce highlighted several “significant elements:”
• A student enrollment projection of 72 students, down from 90 students in FY 2010.
• Eleven full-time teachers, two of which (technology and music) are funded outside the operating fund. This reflects a reduction on one full-time teacher due to not replacing a high school teacher who is resigning at the end of the year.
• A step increase for certificated teaching staff.
• Elimination of the district’s library position.
• Increases in health insurance deductible from $250 to $500 for certificated staff, and to $1,500 for classified staff. These were approved in recently negotiated agreements.
• Reduction of one full-time special education aide to a half-time position.
• Virtual High School annual registration.
If the figures hold, the total operating budget would see a reduction of about $215,000 from this year. The public did not have an opportunity to weigh in on the budget at the March meeting, but got its chance during a special budget work session at the school Thursday night after this issue went to press.
The board then will meet with the borough assembly in a joint work session at City Hall on Monday, April 12 at 7 p.m. The board will then meet again in special session on the 13th to deal with any changes brought up during the joint meeting.
At the March 30 meeting, some board members brought up some issues they would like addressed.
Joanne Korsmo said it was hard to believe that the school’s enrollment next year would be dropping to 72, and she would like to see the list of kids that backs up that figure.
McCormick said his best case number earlier was 76, but that teachers had come up with their own projection of 72 based on kids graduating, the numbers coming in from pre-school, and then “those we have heard are leaving.”
Stuart Brown suggested looking into combining pre-school curriculum with kindergarten to possibly boost the numbers and save some of the $17,000 pre-school line item for something else.
Darren Belisle said the district still would not be able to count those pre-school students, and teacher Denise Caposey said the mix would “not be good for the kids,” adding, “I don’t want to be wiping bottoms in the bathrooms when I should be teaching kindergarteners.”
Brown also suggested finding a way to save the $6,000 part-time librarian position, possibly by having parents of Virtual High School students cover the $8,500 cost of the VHS program, and have the librarian supervise it. Others at the table agreed that they wanted to find a way to keep a librarian.
Mayor Tom Cochran and Assemblyman and school liaison Tim Cochran were in attendance, though they did not address the board. The total request to the municipality in the draft budget is broken down as follows:
• $1,251,780 in operating funds compared with the cap of $1,341,897 in FY 10.
And then outside the operating fund:
• $126,560 for activities ($160,054 in FY10)
• $64,431 for food service ($71,688 in FY10)
• $16,993 for pre-school ($17,652 in FY10)
• $84,474 for vocational education-technology ($86,019 in FY10)
• $42,785 for technology improvement fund ($42,821 in FY10)
• $74,509 for music program ($72,158 in FY10)
For the current year, the assembly chose to dip into its Forest Service account for the $450,392 cost of additional programs. That amount would be $409,752 in the new budget, but if the borough assembly chooses to fund all the programs, it would have to deplete the “rainy day” account further, or find another source.

UPDATE: After a sometimes emotional public work session on April 8, in which the superintendent walked out, the board and superintendent met with the borough assembly on April 12 and was told they may not have enough money to cover all of the items outside the operating fund. At a special meeting on April 13, the board made an additional $57,900 in cuts by removing the pre-school line item and making music a half-time program. The assembly was presented this revised budget on April 15 and heard testimony from parents who asked to fully fund those programs. The assembly has 30 days to act on the school's budget. Read more in the April 30 issue.

 

Gary Danielson, left, and Eugene Hretzay chat in the WP&YR president’s office. JB

Hretzay to replace Danielson as new WP&YR president

By JEFF BRADY

 K. Rai Sahi, chairman and CEO of ClubLink Enterprises, Ltd., parent company of the White Pass & Yukon Route, announced March 30 that Eugene N. Hretzay had succeeded Gary Danielson as president of WP&YR, effective March 25.
Danielson’s retirement was also officially announced, although it had become effective on March 1 (see interview on page 8).
In a statement from ClubLink’s Ontario offices, Sahi said, “Having known Eugene for over 20 years and worked with him for 15 of those years, he has my confidence to carry on the good work at White Pass that Gary Danielson has done for the past seven years.”
Sahi noted that Hretzay (pronounced ‘retzay’) is a lawyer and professional accountant qualified to practice in both Canada and the U.S.
“He has over 20 years of senior management public company experience in distribution, real estate, tourism, and oil and gas,” Sahi said. “We welcome him back after a five year absence.”
Hretzay also serves as Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of ClubLink Enterprises, Ltd. He was involved in the eventual purchase of ClubLink by Tri-White a few years ago. Tri-White moved further into golf course ownership and discarded its name in favor of ClubLink last year, but Sahi’s company has held on to WP&YR since the 1970s.
Hretzay was in Skagway this week in that capacity, and during a brief interview said he is waiting on his E1/E2 immigration permit to go through before he officially can take the helm as president here in Skagway. He is a Canadian citizen.
That process could take up to two months, he said, but he plans to return to Skagway in a couple weeks for the summer. – JB

SKAGWAY NEWS INTERVIEW: Gary C. Danielson

Senior exemption increase passes

There was a light turnout for tje April 6 special election, but the one measure on the ballot – to increase the exemption level on primary residences of seniors from $150,000 to $250,000 – passed overwhelmingly by a final count of 151 to 19.
Turnout was an extremely light 170, just 18 percent of Skagway’s 942 registered voters.
Borough Clerk Marj Harris said the change will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2011. The borough attorney advised against making it retroactive for this year, she said. – JB

ALASKA'S FIRST CAR - The Bobby Sheldon car in its new home at the Fountainhead Auto Museum in Fairbanks. Read more in Features. Molly Dischner

BOROUGH DIGEST (complete digest in print edition)

More clinic needs identified
 Assemblyman Dan Henry addressed the landscaping of the new Rasmuson Community Health Center at the April 1 Borough Assembly meeting. He said the area around the building needed some fixing up, and fencing should be added to block the view to the north. Henry urged the work be done soon so as to include the cost in the bonded project funds.
Clinic Administrator Shelly Moss said landscaping on the State St. side of the building was needed due to the fact that it contained the entrance to Lynn Canal Counseling Services. She said that privacy was a concern for those entering that particular part of the building.
Assemblyman Dave Hunz said an RFP should be prepared to address the clinic’s beautification needs.
Clinic Board President Jeremy Simmons also addressed a letter he wrote to the assembly requesting using remaining funds in the new building account to compensate Moss for clinic construction oversight.
Simmons explained that former Borough Manager Alan Sorum and Project Manager Paul Taylor were “originally the personnel with primary oversight of the construction phase of the project.” Sorum resigned in late 2008, and Taylor departed from his contracted position in August of 2009. The assembly did retain Sorum as a special clinic project manager through early this year. He made a site visit in January, but was in Valdez most of the past year.
Simmons said Moss had taken on construction oversight duties completely outside the scope of her job description, all while fulfilling her regular duties as clinic administrator.
“Ms. Moss estimated that over 20 percent of her work hours were dedicated to the new clinic project,” read Simmons’ letter.
The matter will go before the finance committee.
Moss addressed the assembly and asked that Hospice equipment be moved from its current location, in Shirley Mitchell’s storage container, to the old clinic building where it can be inventoried and a permanent solution for storing the equipment could be addressed.
Hunz urged the storage of the items be short term and said he did not want it to become the municipal storage site.
Mayor Tom Cochran said the assembly should address what was to become of the building now that it had been vacated.
Moss also asked whether the need for a clinic maintenance person had been addressed. She said she was utilizing the internet to address problems with the clinic’s fuel line and generator.
“Nothing’s been done on that,” said Hunz.
After the meeting, Borough Manager Tom Smith said via telephone that the maintenance position had been added to the clinic budget which, if approved, would result in the job’s posting and hiring.
In her comments, Moss thanked members of the harbor department and public works for their help in moving the clinic to its new location.
The assembly also decided to hold the open house for the new clinic on May 22 (UPDATE: there was a conflict on that date, so the ceremony will be moved to a Saturday in June).

Assembly writes letters so as not to be ignored
 Mayor Tom Cochran expressed frustration concerning problems with the Alaska Marine Highway ferry schedule.
Tourism Director Buckwheat Donahue said the Columbia was in dry dock after a shaft was bent last fall. Donahue said repair on the vessel did not begin until “last Monday.”
Donahue said the Malaspina was incorporated into a reworked schedule but the changes to the schedule would adversely affect the June 2 Writer’s Conference in Skagway. The original plan included a reception in the lounge of the ferry and a tour of the vessel for those participating in the conference. Because the departure was changed to 7:30 a.m. on the revised schedule, those plans were rendered impossible resulting in the loss of 110 independent travelers.
“We’re getting tired of it,” said Donahue, who added that Skagway seemed to always be negatively affected by changes in the ferry schedule.
“We need to have consistent ferry service,” he said. “We need them to keep their schedule.”
The municipality will send a letter voicing their concerns. Donahue urged they ask why the Columbia simply sat in dry dock all winter, when repairs could have been started.
Another letter is being drafted to address fears that the local post office might face a shortage of staff. (See story)

Clerk Marj Harris to retire, search for her replacement begins
The announcement at the March 18 assembly meeting concerning Municipal Clerk Marj Harris’ June 30 retirement prompted some comments hoping she may have changed her mind.
“I’ve already got plans,” said Harris.
Mayor Cochran said there was not a lot of time to find a replacement and urged a job announcement be prepared.
Schaeffer said to make the job available to as many people as possible to “see what we’ve got out there.”
The job will be advertised statewide. Harris said she originally found out about her job while living in Wasilla.
Harris said she is planning a trip to a warmer locale.
“I’m looking forward to July,” she said.

Dyea Point land soon to be available
Hunz asked when land disposal might begin in the Dyea Point area.
Smith said the appraisals were due to be finished early as the following day. He added that when the appraisals were completed, and ordinance would be drafted to “get it rolling.”

West Creek surveys in mail; town meeting set for April 16
 The public was mailed surveys last week asking them 11 questions about which uses should be allowed in the 3,040-acre West Creek area. The information will be used to help formulate a management plan for the area.
A hydro site is one of the more significant uses being considered and will be part of the discussion at a town meeting set for Friday, April 16 at 6:30 p.m. at the Elks, just after the burger feed. – AC

Egg Hunters

From top, the 6 to 8-year-olds take off for the eggs as the fire siren sounds. The Easter Bunny gives a candy kiss to a new friend, the littlest hunters get in the act, and parents help their kids choose from one of the many prizes. JB

SCHOOL REPORT (complete report and Honor Roll in print edition)

Superintendent search is on
Friday, April 16, is the deadline for applying for the school superintendent’s position, which was posted in mid-March. As of March 30, seven had already applied.
One of them is Josh Coughran, the social studies teacher who recently resigned effective the end of the year. A petition supporting his candidacy was presented at the March 30 meeting. Coughran was a finalist for the interim position a year ago.
Interim Superintendent Les McCormick has said he will not apply, having turned in his resignation effective the end of the school year.
The district has advertised a salary range of $95,000 to $100,000 a year. The superintendent would work a 360-day contract with 30 days leave.
Board members Darren Belisle and Joanne Korsmo will make up the hiring committee, and will narrow down the list of candidates. Their references will be checked by the Alaska Association of School Boards.
Board President Christine Ellis said finalists should be interviewed during the week of April 19.

Update: The application period has closed and Belisle and Stuart Brown (who replaced Korsmo) reviewed the 15 applications during the week of April 19. They will make recommendations to the board at its April 27 meeting, and an interview list will emerge after an executive session at that meeting. Interviews could be held as early as April 29. Watch our site for updates after the April 27 board meeting.

Agreement ratified, tenured staff rehired
The board on March 30 approved the new agreement with the Skagway Teachers Organization which held wages to regular step increases and doubled the deductible in their health plan.
The agreement prevented a Reduction In Force in the proposed budget. All tenured staff were also offered contracts.

Mid-year budget revision approved
The board approved its mid-year budget revision based on the actual number of students enrolled and other factors.
Despite an enrollment drop from a budgeted 95 students to the actual count of 89.85 last October, there was an increase in the state contribution of $279,213 due to an increase in the “hold harmless” percentage for districts that suffer drastic reductions. It also resulted in a drop in the state-mandated municipal contribution of $29,986, leaving $249,727 more revenue for the district.
However, expenditures climbed by $205,164, netting an excess of $44,563. – JB