Stressing Efficiency Anchorage Assembly Approves ASD Budget
The Anchorage Assembly voted 10 to 1 to approve the Anchorage School District’s $811 million dollar budget Tuesday night
The Anchorage Assembly voted 10 to 1 to approve the Anchorage School District’s $811 million dollar budget Tuesday night.
With the district’s budget increasing more and more each year because of what district officials blame on the rising costs of salaries, benefits, and energy the problem for some Assembly members is what they call a lack of efficiency with the school goods and services.
For example using snowplowing services for the city and school district’s needs.
But those are issues that Assembly Chair Dick Traini says is part of business that everyone has to adjust too.
“No one is happy with the cost of everything going up, what isn't going up,” said Traini. “When's the last time you filled your gas tank its going up, when's the last time you bought milk, its going up, the school district is a big organization and the price on everything goes up with a cost of living increase.”
One big reason for the overwhelming approval of the Anchorage School District budget by Assembly members is because of how they followed the guidelines given by the Assembly on a spending plan based on the city tax dollars they were set to receive.
It’s a plan that forced officials to look deep into cuts and funds and what programs and positions were important to education.
With things like graduation coaches, elementary summer school, and middle school sports on the verge of being eliminated, the Anchorage School Board approved the $811 million dollar budget using reserve funds and increasing class sizes in 4th through 12th grades by half a student.
Creativity in today’s hard times that Assembly members were happy to see.
“I think this is probably our biggest impact we've made on the school district budget this year is to do the six year fiscal plan,” said Assembly Member Jennifer Johnston. “Otherwise how are you going to approach contracts, how you are going to approach labor negotiations, you don't know where you are going.”
Anchorage School District officials say although they are happy about the approval, next year could be even worse.
Which is why they are looking to lobby lawmakers to increase student allocation funds that were flat this year.