April 30, 2015
UPDATE May 5, 2015: On Monday night, the board amended the budget to reinstate 10 FTE teaching positions for K-2 classrooms; the funding will come from the charter school facilities fund.
April 30, 2015
Superintendent Ed Graff will present a 2015-16 budget amendment to the Anchorage School Board at its meeting on Monday night. The amendment takes into account the funding levels determined in HB 72 – the state’s operating budget. The legislature’s budget will eliminate $16.7 million from ASD’s budget for next school year.
“We built our budget based on the legislature’s promise of education funding and now we must reverse that,” said Superintendent Graff. “For the last few years, we’ve been building momentum and making efforts toward our Destination 2020 goals and giving students the best education possible. This change in funding will obviously compromise our momentum.”
In total, the $16.7 million reduction will force the elimination of 81 positions, including 70 teachers.
The budget amendment eliminates four preschool classrooms, teaching positions, literacy coaches, charter school allocations and materials funded by HB 278. It also includes all budget additions made in the 2015-16 budget development process including 20 classroom teaching positions, 20 new middle school teaching positions, additional World Languages staff, training materials and technology. Additionally, the proposal reduces central administrative services by about 1.5 percent.
The charter schools/alternative programs director position and funding for assessment reporting software were the only new items included in next year’s budget.
The 2015-16 budget includes $17 million of reserve funds that have already been put forward to next year. If the district did not strategically designate these funds for next year, ASD would have been faced with cutting 150-200 additional positions.
“Based on this latest reduction, our district will have essentially faced a $36 million deficit for next school year,” said Superintendent Graff.
The district has cut about 300 positions from the budget in the last four years. Central administration services have faced the biggest hit, with a 20 percent reduction.
“We are beyond the point where we can stay away from the classroom. You can’t get to $17 million in reductions without negatively impacting our students,” said Superintendent Graff.
The full budget amendment is available online at www.asdk12.org/budget.
The community has an opportunity to provide feedback to the school board on the recommendation by emailing the board at firstname.lastname@example.org or testifying at the board’s May 4 early session at 4 p.m. or the late session at 6:30 p.m.