Click Bishop

Click Bishop

A Chalkyitsik school whose water tank is in need of repairs will have to wait, after $300,000 was cut from the Yukon Flats School District budget.

Chalkyitsik is a village in Yukon Flats, east of Fort Yukon, with a population of around 68 people. The Yukon Flats School District extends north to Arctic Village and south to Circle. The district operates out of Fort Yukon. 

The capital budget, as initially proposed by the Alaska Senate, included the $300,000 for roof repair for the water tank at the village’s school, but the funding did not make it through the $34.7 million cuts in line-item vetoes issued by Gov. Mike Dunleavy when he signed the capital budget Thursday afternoon.

Sen. Click Bishop, R-Fairbanks, expressed his disappointment during an interview with the News-Miner. The school falls within Bishop’s district, District 6, and he said he will have to call the Yukon Flats School District engineering superintendent, to let him know the funding has been vetoed.

“I’m trying to let the dust settle to see what the next step could be,” Bishop said.

The potable water tank at the school is 40 years old and is intended to provide safe drinking water, as well as for washing and bathroom use. However, given the age of the tank, the roof has degraded, making it unsafe to use for the past few years.

“This will be going on year four that they’re having to take water out of a water bottle and I was really hoping to get potable water for the kids,” Bishop said.

Bishop said he’s not sure about the possibility of the Legislature calling itself back into a third special session to attempt a veto override, but he’s choosing to stay optimistic.

“I’d like to see, I’m still holding out hope, that there might be an appetite for a third session and maybe an override,” he said.

The school year for the district begins Aug. 20.

Contact staff writers Erin McGroarty and Kyrie Long at 459-7544 and 459-7510, respectively