May 16, 2014
Additional funding allows district to propose adjustments to next year's budget
Many teaching positions reinstated with recurring funds; high-value projects added with one-time funding
Superintendent Ed Graff will present his recommended adjustments to the 2014-15 school year budget to the Anchorage School Board on Monday, May 19. Following the board's guidance, the proposal takes into account one-time and sustainable, recurring funds over the next three years.
"I appreciate the additional education funding provided to the district by the state and municipality, as well as the community's strong and vocal support of public education," said Superintendent Graff. "Unfortunately, the additional funding isn't enough to eliminate all budget reductions for next school year. However, I do believe this proposal builds on the solid foundation of success within the Anchorage School District."
In the proposal, 86 of the 143 classroom teaching positions eliminated will be added back for the next school year with funds provided by the municipality; 44 in elementary, 30 in middle school and 12 in high school. The positions will be distributed to schools based on enrollment. The teaching positions are in addition to the 16 high school teachers and three counselors added by the school board when it approved the budget in February.
These additional positions will reinstate the middle school planning hour for core subject teachers. Superintendent Graff said the additional planning time will undergo a data-driven review at the end of three years to better understand its impact on student achievement.
Budget additions include the use of one-time funding from the legislature over a three year period for initiatives in several areas of focus:
"It's critical that we have intentional practices and a constant base of support over several years in order to see improvements," said Superintendent Graff. "I believe these initiatives will provide high value to the district and will continue to build on established and successful practices offered by ASD."
The state legislature directed specific funding to charter school programs statewide. In the next three years of the proposal, nearly $15 million of the district's funding from the state will go directly support and enhance ASD's eight charter schools.
Continued reductions and financial outlook
The proposal does not include a recommendation to add back more than 48 support staff positions, swimming classes, decrease in supply and material funds, and other reductions approved as part of the original budget package.
The one-time and recurring increases in education funding were not enough to hold the district harmless from inflation over the next three years. It's projected that a combined 360 positions will need to be reduced in years two and three of the state's education funding plan in order to balance the district's projected revenues and expenses. Superintendent Graff is recommending to hold approximately $4 million of new education funding in reserve to help mitigate the loss of funding in future years.
"It's important that we look ahead and designate our resources on practices that are sustainable and not solely focus on the year in front of us," said Graff. "I believe this proposed budget adjustment package is a solid combination of prioritizing classroom teachers and investing in high-value initiatives that are focused on improving student achievement while remaining fiscally responsible."
The district's original budget package is posted online and the proposed amendments will be available on Saturday at www.asdk12.org/budget.