March 27, 2015
Contact: Eric Croft
Anchorage School Board President
On February 19, the Anchorage School Board unanimously passed the 2015-16 district budget. On March 24, the Anchorage Assembly reviewed and passed this proposed budget by a vote of 8-3.
Certain members of the House Majority recently issued a press release criticizing these actions by local elected officials. Because the press release does not accurately reflect the actual budget reductions taken by the district, members of the Anchorage School Board feel compelled to respond and set the record straight.
"The actual budget picture is much different than presented in the press release. In fact, the district has done a better job over the last three years of making budget reductions and focusing our resources than the state," said Anchorage School Board President Eric Croft. "We know the Legislature has a difficult job this year. We urge the Alaska Legislature to make education a top priority."
BUDGET FACTS FOR 2013-16: Over the last three years, the Anchorage School District has cut 266 administrative or support positions and used the savings to close the inflation gap and add 61 additional teachers in our classrooms. This is a net reduction of 205 positions or about 3.57%. In that same period of time, the entire government of the State of Alaska, with about 22,000 employees, has only reduced 201 employees or less than 1%. In this same period of the time, the Alaska Legislature has increased both its full-time and part-time employees by over 4%. These numbers are listed on the attachment with sources for confirmation.
"The Anchorage School Board and Anchorage Assembly have the responsibility to propose and approve a budget that meets the needs of Anchorage kids. We have met that responsibility," said board member Kameron Perez-Verdia.
"We have done our job. It is time for the Legislature to do theirs," said board member Bettye Davis.
"Last year, the Legislature committed to a three-year funding plan with modest increases to education funding to partially cover inflation,” said board member Pat Higgins. “Districts across the state relied on this funding plan. We urge the Alaska Legislature to keep its promise to Alaska's schools and Alaska's kids."
Learn more about the budget by visiting the Anchorage School District's budget page.