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February 6 School Board Recap

Work Session Review - Fiscal Year 2025 Budget Rollout

Yesterday’s work session was all about the budget. The Administration presented the FY 2025 budget, found here

Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Andy Ratliff and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director (OMB) Katie Parrott provided the Board a full run-down and presentation on how the District has proposed to balance the budget for next school year. 

Years of flat funding and declining enrollment have created an untenable situation for ASD. With a nearly $100 million deficit the District had to make difficult decisions that will result in increased class sizes and fewer resources for students. 

$71 million of emergency savings was used to close the majority of this year’s deficit. The remaining savings came through reductions to administration, school-based positions, and programs such as IGNITE. 

budget

budget

Board Meeting Review

During the regular School Board meeting, the Board heard passionate testimony from members of the public, specifically about the proposed cut to the IGNITE program. You can find a full breakdown of the agenda here. The entire Board session can be watched here. 

Goal Monitoring Update

  • Staff provided the Board an update on the District’s effort to advance reading proficiency. You can review this update here. 

Consent Agenda Highlights 

  • The Board approved one-time costs  to move 6th grade students to middle school.The one-time costs include moving and updating relocatable buildings, furnishings, equipment, supplies, and labor costs associated with the move.
  • The Board also approved a memorandum for school security and safety improvements at Homestead Elementary. 

Key Action Items

  • The Board approved, on a vote of 6-1, a contract extension for Dr. Jharrett Bryantt to continue as ASD Superintendent through June 30, 2026. The memo approving the extension can be found here. This extension represents a 1-year extension of Dr. Bryant’s contract with ASD. 

Key Non-Action Items

  • The most significant non-action item reviewed by the Board under non-action items, was the preliminary budget for FY 2025. The Board requested the Administration continue their presentation from the work session during the Board meeting to answer additional questions regarding special service changes in the preliminary budget, particularly the adjustments to Gifted IGNITE teachers and the Administration’s proposal to teach Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM) to all Kindergarten through fifth grade students across elementary schools beginning in Fall 2024-2025. You can review the entire preliminary budget for next school year here. The Board will again review the preliminary budget at the February 20 meeting, with the final budget due to the municipality on March 4.
  • The Administration also submitted a number of memorandums concerning building and construction upgrades at various schools, found here and here
  • Lastly, after much deliberation and research with legal counsel, the Administration has proposed two new memorandums dealing with access to district records and the District’s records and email retention policy. These proposals have been submitted based on current industry best practices and appropriate state law. 

Superintendent Update

Dr. Bryantt passionately advocated for public education and explained to the Board that he was heading to Juneau this week to talk with legislators about the need for a $1,413 increase to the BSA. Dr. Bryantt emphasized that 70% of the FY25 budget deficit is being resolved through use of the fund balance; he pointed out that current discussions are over a reduction of $25 million, and if no investment in education is made, this time next year we will be looking at $75M+ in reductions and every program will be on the table. His remarks focused on how the FY 2025 budget avoided massive layoffs, for this year, and looked to the Board goals & guardrails as guidance. You can watch his remarks beginning here