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‘Displaced’ Eagle River choir teacher considers her options

By Lauren Maxwell 8:26 PM March 26, 2014

Students sad to see Andrea Lang leave

ANCHORAGE – Some Anchorage teachers are getting word that they are being “displaced.” It’s part of the budget cuts the district has proposed to make up for a $23 million deficit. Teachers aren’t getting pink slips yet, but many know they will have to leave the jobs they have now.

One of them is Andrea Lang, a choir, music and drama teacher at Eagle River High School. Lang has taught there since the school opened in 2005 and has taught for a total of 16 years.

Lang’s position has been cut to part time. She said she could stay at Eagle River, but the change means she’d lose part of her pay and all of her benefits. The news was hard to hear, she said.

“The principals have to cut these people; they tell you it’s because of numbers or because of finances,” Lang said. “You are sitting across the desk from them and they are telling you that you are one of the five least valuable people in the building and that hurts.”

Administrators say the decision on which jobs to eliminate isn’t easy. At Eagle River, they’ll be down to the equivalent of six full-time positions.

Assistant Principal Victoria McConnell said they tried to target electives first, but the whole school will suffer.

“We are a small school, we don’t have many offerings as it is, so this hurts a lot of the programs across the board,” McConnell said.

Teachers like Lang can look for other positions within the district, provided there are openings. She says she’s interviewing for two full-time positions at local elementary schools, and while she hopes to get one of those jobs, it will be hard to leave the school she loves.

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