The Anchorage Assembly took on the 2014 operating budget Monday, and there was strong support for increased funding to the Anchorage School District.
In a special meeting, dozens of taxpayers stood up and lobbied the Assembly to increase its aid to the district. In the end, the Assembly voted to increase its contribution to ASD by $5.8 million in property tax revenues.
The school district’s leader starting off the public testimony.
“Tonight I’m here to urge the Assembly to fully fund our school officer program,” said Superintendent Ed Graff.
He asked the municipality to pay for school resource safety officers, and that measure passed.
Much of Monday’s debate centered on a proposal to increase property taxes.
Many people who took to the podium said they were willing to shell out more money for taxes to ensure the best education for the community’s future — and they urged the Assembly to vote in their favor.
“So I’m asking you to resonate on everything you’ve heard from everybody tonight — SRO’s, trails, whatever it is, whatever you guys need to hash out to make it happen so our teachers aren’t affected, so the programs get to remain,” said parent Tiffany Windsor.
Eric Croft, president of the Anchorage School Board, called Monday’s vote a win. But it won’t be enough to stave off projected staff layoffs, he said.
Final amendments to the municipal operating budget were approved by a unanimous Assembly vote.