• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
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

  • Lifestyle

    Scientist: Whale deaths off Alaska island remains mystery

    by Associated Press on Jul 28, 7:14

    A scientist says researchers may never solve the recent deaths of 18 endangered whales whose carcasses were found floating near Alaska’s Kodiak Island. Kate Wynne, a marine mammal specialist for the University of Alaska Sea Grant Program, says samples taken from one of the 10 fin whales were at least a week old, which could […]

  • News

    Apartment owner says plugged storm drain makes city responsible for damages

    by Lauren Maxwell on Jul 27, 21:42

    The owner of an Anchorage apartment building that was flooded by torrential rains says she thinks the city should pay for the damages. Beverly Newby says the city failed to maintain a storm drain that could have helped divert the water that rushed down Cordova Street Saturday night and damaged each of the bottom units […]

  • News

    UPDATE: Missing adults, child located

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 27, 21:08

    Update: Tuesday, July 28 Law enforcement located the trio. Police say they are safe. Original story The Anchorage Police Department is asking for the public’s help locating two adults and a child who are overdue from a fishing trip. Jesse Urias, 35; Sabra Stiner, 31; and Shaniah Adams, 7, left Anchorage on Saturday in a […]

  • News

    Kodiak science students win world competition for earthquake research

    by Heather Hintze on Jul 27, 20:44

    A team of science students from Kodiak can now call themselves world champions. Levi Purdy, John Dunlop, Kyle Ruotsalainen and Anna McDonald represented Kodiak High School at the NASA World Wind Europa Challenge in Italy. “What high school kids get to say in their free time they’re having conference calls with NASA?” McDonald asked rhetorically. […]

  • News

    JBER commander speaks out about Army cuts

    by Lauren Maxwell on Jul 27, 20:35

    On Monday, the commander of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson spoke out for the first time about the coming cuts and what they could mean for the base. Col. Brian Bruckbauer says he is meeting weekly with U.S. Army officials to get a better idea of what their mission will look like in Alaska after the downsizing. […]

  • Sports

    Alaskan athlete takes home bronze medal at Special Olympics World Games

    by Megan Mazurek on Jul 27, 20:30

    On day 2 of the Special Olympics World Games, another Alaskan athlete took home a bronze medal. Brittany Tregarthen, 27, a power lifter from Kodiak took third place overall in her weight class division. She participated in the squat, bench press and deadlift. Her family traveled from all over the country to see Tregarthen compete. […]

  • DayBreak

    Story time with Aunt Phil, July 27

    by Daybreak Staff on Jul 27, 17:50

    Laurel Downing Bill, author of the “Aunt Phil’s Trunk” book series, joins Daybreak every Monday to give viewers a history lesson on the Last Frontier. This week, she talked about the Klondike Gold Rush era in Nome. According to Downing Bill, it wasn’t just miners panning for gold or heading to the nearest saloon to […]

  • Sports

    Anchorage youth shine on national soccer stage

    by Jake Edmonds on Jul 27, 17:05

    Soccer is growing in Alaska and local youth are growing up with it. Alexis Mckinnon, Casey Leonard, and Isabella Roberts are among five Anchorage natives that play for the “U16 AK Selects Chicas.” The team travels all over the country, playing in tournaments against the country’s best up-and-coming soccer stars. “It’s definitely fun just traveling […]