Budget proposal designed to support students while closing $15.3 million gap
Superintendent Dr. Deena Bishop presented a balanced budget proposal to the Anchorage School Board at its meeting on February 6, that is metric-based and equitable in order to support all students while closing a $15.3 million budget gap.
The education funding available will make us change the way we do business,” said Dr. Bishop. “It is difficult to make many of these reductions but we must keep moving forward, taking care of students, and providing them an excellent education.”
Dr. Bishop’s proposal includes reductions in all areas of the District, however no area was eliminated completely. Dr. Bishop said this reflects the feedback received from students, staff, parents, and the community. The results of a community budget survey showed the highest value was placed on clean and safe schools, class size, and effective and rigorous course offerings.
The pupil-teacher ratio (PTR) staffing formula was adjusted to reflect actual staffing and supplemental positions. Dr. Bishop’s recommendation is to maintain or reduce the PTR across grade levels while addressing supplemental teaching positions. This adjustment will reduce the PTR for many grade levels, however, some schools will see reductions in teaching staff where staffing was not distributed equitably based on enrollment. Other support positions also will be distributed among schools based on student-enrollment-to-staff ratios.
“It will absolutely look different next year for staff in our schools and administration building,” said Dr. Bishop. “This proposal is based on data to support efforts to improve student outcomes and work toward the School Board’s Destination 2020 goals. We have to keep in mind the needs of our students when they leave us. We need to invest in what we know will give them a strong foundation and skills for their future careers.”
Some of the investments for next school year include:
- Alaska Middle College School – a school choice for students in grades 11-12 to take University of Alaska college courses while simultaneously earning high school credit.
- Instructional coaches – elementary schools will have a dedicated instructional coach for job-embedded professional learning and improved use of data to guide instruction.
- Proposed Employer Sponsored Health Clinic – establishment of a health clinic for eligible District employees to address primary, preventative, and after-care, while reducing overall district healthcare costs.
- Expansion of SBBS – Site-Based Behavior Support program will expand to four schools to increase learning opportunities and behavior supports for students. As part of the expansion, Mt. Iliamna School will close.
- New curriculum – new English Language Arts curriculum for students in grades K-2.
- Capturing Kids’ Hearts – program to help secondary school staff building relationships and a positive school climate in order to connect students to school and improve achievement.
The budget proposal eliminates 122.8 positions and reduces some areas while making investments in others. The District expects far fewer layoffs as employee attrition will address many of the position eliminations.
“The Anchorage School District is a great place to work with a highly trained, caring, and dedicated staff. If our employees want to keep working for us, we’re going to try and find them a position and take care of them,” said Dr. Bishop.
The Superintendent’s budget proposal also recommends spending $4 million of the district’s savings account to hold 40 teacher positions for the upcoming school year.
“This will allow us to ratchet down the position reductions rather than taking them all at once,” said Dr. Bishop.
Dr. Bishop’s $563.6 million General Fund budget is metric-based making it scalable should education funding available to ASD increase or decrease.
FY 2017-18 Budget Documents
Review school board and assembly approval memos as they become available.