• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
News Alert: Latest updates on McHugh Creek Fire - Read More
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 29s

Multimillion-dollar ASD budget shortfall breeds concern

By KTVA Alaska 6:59 PM January 20, 2014

Educators brace for reduction of teachers and staff

ANCHORAGE – The Anchorage School District budget will be released Jan. 21, the same day state lawmakers get back to work.

Lawmakers will have to review and approve the budget with a near $50 million shortfall over the course of two years, leading area educators to believe that even the best-case scenario will have negative effects.

“I don’t think tomorrow is going to be a good case scenario for anybody,” said Anchorage Education Association President Andy Holleman. “I think the district is delivering a lot of bad news that they don’t have any control over.”

According to AEA, the current two-year $49 million budget shortfall will likely result in a reduction of teachers and support staff.  Holleman speculated ASD will lose about 150 teachers, which spread across ASD, he said, will mean each school building could lose between one and six educators.

This year, the budget will be $23 million short, according to President of the Anchorage School Board Tam Agosti-Gisler.

“This is a big cut,” Holleman said. “This is not trimming a program or recognizing that we’ve been doing something that’s not really worth the money. This is having to go in and cut things because there is a lack of funds to make it happen.”

Holleman said this isn’t the first time the district has had to deal with similar major funding issues.

For the past four years, according to AEA, the school budget hasn’t seen any increases, forcing officials to find ways to factor in nearly $50 million dollars in inflation costs with each budget.

Over the past year and a half, Holleman said, ASD has cut nearly 200 positions as a result of the shortfall from the most recently passed budget. And more reductions in teaching staff are ahead, he said.

“Unless we can get more funds out of Juneau you’ll see classes be less interesting, you’ll see classes where students don’t get the individual attention of the instructors, and you’ll see a reduced offering in classes,” Holleman said.

He warned that these cuts could impact students from kindergarten all the way up through high school.

Agosti-Gisler said it’s frustrating to have to deal with these cuts every time the budget is submitted, but there is little to nothing the district can actually do about it.

“Now we’re faced at the point where we’ll have to impact the classroom,” Agosti-Gisler said. “Last year the board asked specifically that they try to find cuts from every place but the direct classroom teacher, but we can’t avoid that anymore because our costs increase every year.”

Holleman warned that this recurring budget shortfall trend will continue unless parents and students demand different from lawmakers.

“Best-case scenario is if parents and students recognize that this is really about to change how school fundamentally works for them,” Holleman said. “If parents and students realize it and do the math and really rally, I think what’s coming out of Juneau can really change but it’s not going to happen unless people really make it a priority.”

Latest Stories

  • News

    Deadly bombing strikes demonstration in Kabul

    by CBS/AP on Jul 23, 17:39

    At least 80 people were killed and another 231 wounded in the Afghan capital on Saturday, when suicide bombers detonated their explosives-packed clothing among a large crowd of demonstrators, officials and witnesses said. In a statement issued by its news agency, Aamaq, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, claimed responsibility for the attack […]

  • News

    Firefighters on McHugh Creek Fire confident with progress

    by Eric Ruble on Jul 23, 17:27

    After nearly half an inch of rainfall, sunshine returned to the area of the McHugh Creek Fire Saturday. It remains roughly 815 acres in size, but is now 15 percent contained, according to officials. It was seven percent contained Friday. More than 300 firefighters have been working on the McHugh Creek Fire. Many of them […]

  • News

    Woman drove for days in Alaska with husband’s body in casket

    by Associated Press on Jul 23, 15:18

    A woman who drove her husband’s body on a days-long traveling wake in Alaska and used ice from canneries to keep him cold is not accused of breaking any laws. Officers responded to a call last week to find the body of a 78-year-old man inside an aluminum transport casket. Ketchikan Police Chief Alan Bengaard […]

  • News

    Police: Bicyclist injured in crash with vehicle

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 23, 13:35

    Updated at 3:25 p.m. on Saturday, July 23 A bicyclist was injured and transported to a nearby hospital after a collision with a vehicle Saturday afternoon. The incident was reported to police at the intersection of Eagle Street and 23rd Avenue around 12:48 p.m., according to an Anchorage dispatcher. The driver remained at the scene of the […]

  • News

    McHugh Creek Fire: Positive prognosis from fire official

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 23, 11:23

    [RELATED: Updates: McHugh Creek Fire 7 percent contained at 815 acres] Last updated at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 23 The McHugh Creek Fire was 15 percent contained as of Saturday morning, incident commander Tom Kurth said at a Saturday morning community meeting. Roughly 330 firefighting personnel were battling the blaze, which was holding at 815 […]

  • News

    Silver Alert: Missing Kenai man believed to be in danger

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 23, 10:17

    Last updated at 11:50 a.m. on Saturday, July 23 ANCHORAGE — The Alaska Department of Public Safety and the Alaska Division of Homeland Security have initiated a Silver Alert for a missing 81-year-old man, who is believed to be in danger. The Kenai Police Department reported Oscar Rookard was last seen at his residence at […]

  • Lifestyle

    State health officials investigate salmonella illnesses in Bethel area

    by Charles Enoch / KYUK on Jul 23, 9:50

    This story originated from KYUK Public Media and was republished with permission BETHEL — The Alaska Division of Public Health is investigating salmonella infections in the Bethel area. A team is in Bethel to track down the source of the infection. Louisa Castrodale is an epidemiologist with the state’s Public Health division. “It’s not even the end […]

  • News

    Alasks State Trooper dispatch neglects a report for weeks

    by Davis Hovey / KNOM on Jul 23, 9:44

    On Friday afternoon, family and friends gathered to celebrate the life of local Nome resident John Penetac, Jr. The 51-year-old passed away on July 6. The cause of death is unknown. Earlier Friday morning, around 11:30am, an Alaska State Trooper dispatch reported a deceased man’s body being found near the area known as Cavota Pond. […]