• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 48s

Mat-Su Borough School District learns $11.2 million deficit is actually best case scenario

By Daniella Rivera Photojournalist: Beth Peak - 12:05 PM April 20, 2017
PALMER –

Alaskans showed up to the Mat-Su Borough School District board meeting in Palmer Wednesday night to speak out against outsourcing roughly 120 custodian jobs, but board members unexpectedly tabled the vote because they’ve learned the district’s budget situation is more dire than previously thought.

The $11.2 million deficit they’ve been struggling to fill has now become a best case scenario.

“We spent time in Juneau, and we spent time yesterday at the assembly, and we still have a lot of unknowns with the budget,” said superintendent Dr. Monica Goyette during the meeting.

The five percent cut the Alaska Senate wants to make to education means a $10 million cut to Mat-Su schools, and the proposed Mat-Su Assembly budget doesn’t include an increase in funds for the school district this year, after the board was hoping for a six percent increase.

Their new worst case scenario, if things don’t go well for the district in Juneau or the Assembly budget, is a $20.7 million budget gap.

The board originally planned to cut 88 jobs, but that number would increase to 190 in the worst case scenario plan, in the next year alone.

“We’re not presenting these scenarios as scare tactics by any means. These are real scenarios that are out there that are being considered that are being debated and proposed,” said assistant superintendent Luke Fulp.

Goyette says the Mat-Su already has the leanest district in the state, financially. She told the board their best case scenario includes a student teacher ratio of 35 to one, and the worst, going up to 36 to one, would result in high school classes with more than 40 students.

When asked where jobs would be cut if they have to get rid of 190, she said they would have to start cutting programs for kids, something they’ve been trying to avoid.

While they try to adjust to the moving parts of the budget problem, they’ve postponed the decision regarding outsourcing custodial jobs until May 3, a decision that was not well received by several staff members who used vacation time to attend the meeting for the vote.

“As you drag this on, you’re toying with peoples lives,” Lisa Johansen told the board. She says she’s been a night custodian for the district since 2009.

“We have nobody in the school tonight to cover for me because I took the time to come to this meeting,” Johansen explained.

Goyette says the decision to table the agenda item wasn’t made in time to let people know before the public meeting.

The district says outsourcing both custodial and nutrition positions could save the district $4.3 million.

Fulp has previously told KTVA if they move forward with the idea, the contract will require the company to give preference to laid off school staff when hiring to replace their jobs.

KTVA 11’s Daniella Rivera can be reached via email or on Facebook and Twitter . 

Latest Stories

  • News

    Spring Hill Elementary students honored for saving girl’s life

    by Joe Vigil on May 25, 11:03

    It’s certainly not something they learned in a classroom, but some elementary school students made all the right decisions when something awful happened at the Southwood Manor Mobile Home Park recently in South Anchorage. Ten-year-old Emily Harris was climbing a tree when she slipped and fell. The hood of her hooded sweatshirt became snagged a branch. […]

  • News

    US general heading Alaska forces outlines potential threats

    by Associated Press on May 25, 10:27

    FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) – A U.S. military general has told Alaska business owners that he’s more worried about North Korea’s missile advancements than he is about the country’s current military capabilities. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported Wednesday that Air Force Lt. Gen. Ken Wilsbach made the comments at a Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce luncheon. He is […]

  • News

    Police involved in shooting in South Anchorage neighborhood

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 25, 7:10

    Anchorage police officers were reportedly involved in a shooting early Thursday morning while pursuing a suspect through a South Anchorage neighborhood. According to a Nixle alert from police, officers were called to the area of 1200 China Berry Circle around 4:30 a.m. to investigate a report of a prowler. When they arrived, officers discovered that someone had […]

  • News

    Juneau girl donates national competition money to hospital

    by Associated Press on May 25, 6:49

    JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – Eleven-year-old Leora Murray had been asked by her teacher to define kindness, so she wrote a poem about it. But little did she know, that poem would go on to win her $250 in a national competition. And little did 70 patients at a nearby hospital know, Leora would be giving […]

  • News

    South Anchorage homeowners fed up with trashed properties, squatters

    by Daniella Rivera on May 24, 22:17

    People who live near multiple trashed properties in South Anchorage say the municipality should be able to do something about the health hazards they’re living next to; but, after months — and in one case years — of reaching out for help, they’re still waiting on a solution. At The Learning Farm on Gander Street […]

  • News

    President Trump includes opening ANWR in budget proposal

    by Lauren Maxwell on May 24, 20:35

    While lawmakers are debating the best way to balance the state budget, President Trump says Alaska could play a big role in helping to fill the federal deficit; the president wants to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil and gas development. Kara Moriarty, president of the Alaska Oil and Gas Association, said […]

  • Teen avoids prison in deal, apologizes to victims

    by Dave Leval on May 24, 20:30

    He shot and killed his friend, 17-year-old Xeryus “Iggy” Tate, last August, but, Deandrew Walker-Webster II will not spend any more time in prison. The 18-yr-old reached a plea deal that gave him a three-year sentence late Thursday afternoon. However, Superior Court Judge Michael Wolverton suspended two years and credited Walker-Webster for time served. That’s the […]

  • News

    Lower permit cost opens door for more cottage foods at market

    by Bonney Bowman on May 24, 20:16

    You could see some new vendors at the farmers’ markets popping up around town after the Anchorage Assembly approved lowering the permit fee for cottage foods. Cottage foods are non-potentially hazardous items made in home kitchens that earn less than $25,000 a year. A permit to sell cottage foods at markets used to cost $310, but the […]