2022-23 Budget: A Message from the Superintendent
The Anchorage School District (ASD) is committed to our student’s education; that’s our fundamental purpose. As planning for the 2022-23 budget continues, I wanted to update the community on where things stand.
As always, my focus for the upcoming budget is to keep class sizes small, maintain safety (including keeping our School Resource Officer program), and meet Board goals, which will help students achieve academic growth. To provide every student an excellent education, ASD must be responsible with its financial planning in the long term.
During the last several years, we have been prudent with our understanding of current and future costs as well as revenues from the state, local, and federal governments. We have been taking proactive cost saving steps to streamline operations and efficiently reorganize. It has resulted in a utilization of shared resource facilities as well as two school closures in the last five years. We’ve also made responsible spending recommendations to the school board knowing the sunset of our one-time federal funding was looming.
While it’s been extremely helpful in the short term, I have shared that one-time federal funding is not a responsible long term financial investment in education, and we must prepare for when it ends. Continued school closures to optimize space and smart staffing choices are possible recommendations coming forward as we move through the year. A study for facility optimization will be commissioned in the new year. Once the funds are spent, ASD could be left with a General Fund Deficit of more than $67 million. Absent major and immediate adjustments to our revenue and costs, such as inflation proofing the five-year stagnant Base Student Allocation funding from the state, ASD’s deficit could have a significant impact on public education in the Municipality of Anchorage as early as 2023. I am convening the team and working on additional recommendations to the Board as we come together to plan for the future.
ASD takes great care of its people, and our history shows that. We are proud to be a contributing part of our community. I stand behind our mission and the fact that ASD exists primarily to improve the outcomes for children. Our students will always be first.
I look forward to working with the Anchorage School Board, Anchorage Assembly, and the Bronson Administration to increase the achievement of our students as we provide an excellent education for every child, every day.
Deena M. Bishop, Ed.D.