Dr. Bishop's Inside ASD Message April 3
This week, at the same time some of our students are state champions, preparing for national academic and cocurricular competitions, many of our educators are being recognized nationally for their hard work and commitment to our students. Congratulations to Romig Middle School science teacher, Ben Walker, for receiving the Shell Science Teaching Award. A big shout out of congratulations also goes to Goldenview Middle School nurse, Kathy Bell, for her selection for the National Board for Certification of School Nurses 2019 Recognition Award. You make ASD great!
April is the Month of the Military Child. Our most recent estimates suggest that we have 4,480 students with active military parents in our district. Military students deserve a month of celebration for what they bring to our ASD. From their experiences in other states and countries to their knowledge, respect, discipline, loyalty, and commitment to values—Anchorage’s military children hold great importance in our schools.
Moreover, I wanted to share my gratefulness as you are significant to your schools. Your value was demonstrated last night as our community passed another bond this year. The value in our capital infrastructure is primarily seen from the inside out. You see, I am confident that our bond passed due to your influence on our youth IN schools, rather than a roof being the point of significance on top of the school! While in a down economy, the municipality has strong support for its public schools. Cheers to you and your work!
Additionally, the House Finance Committee has shared its support for schools. A bit of good news came from Juneau recently. The following provides an update on legislative actions affecting ASD’s budget for next year (FY20) and FY21.
- As a backdrop (this is not the good news), the Governor’s proposed budget reduced funding for education in FY19 (this year) and next (FY20). It also eliminated state bond debt reimbursement for prior year, voter approved bonds. Additional cuts across many areas within the state, along with education, would have been used to provide funding for a full PFD (approximately $3000).
- The House Finance Committee moved legislation forward to ensure operational funding is not reduced for FY19 or FY20 (full BSA plus additional funds from last year’s House Bill 287). The revenue assumptions used for next year’s ASD budget remain unchanged.
However, the House Finance Committee today passed a bill that would eliminate state bond debt reimbursement for prior year bonds (same as the Governor did), but included forward funding for FY21.
- The elimination of state bond debt would cost-shift $41 million from the state’s budget to Anchorage taxpayers.
- This action would result in an increase of approximately $120 in taxes for property valuations of $100,000. The average homeowner in Anchorage, with an assessed valuation of $358,000, would pay approximately $430 in additional taxes if this burden does indeed get shifted to the municipality.
There will be many additional amendments proposed as funding bills move through the House and Senate, and the District will continue to provide routine updates as information is available. As Municipality of Anchorage residents you have the opportunity to have your voices heard. I encourage you to share your thoughts with your legislators. I certainly do mine!
In short, the Senate Finance Committee is determining its budget, the two houses would then conference, vote on a final budget, and move one, collaborative budget to the Governor. It is my hope that education funding is sound in that final document. At this point, ASD’s approved budget for next year is funded by the House’s plan. While the session is not complete, the work on the House budget has provided additional optimism.
I hope your reading of this installment of Inside ASD brings you confidence that your district is one of the best in the nation. Our staff, students, and community are awesome. We work together for the youth of our city, for it is the young people who will move from full-time education to full-time work. Their future success is ours too.
Thanks again you for all you do.
Dr. Deena Bishop
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Operating under three ideals of high quality education, positive customer experiences, and transparent accountability, ASD offers choice to students and families. Listen to a message from Dr. Bishop as she explains, "You have come to a great place."