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Schedule shake-up possible for Anchorage schools

By Bonney Bowman 6:10 AM January 14, 2014

The district won't discuss the cuts until the official budget is released on Jan. 21.

ANCHORAGE - A major budget shortfall is forcing a potential schedule shake-up at Anchorage schools, impacting nearly every student.

For the fourth year in a row, the state funding the Anchorage School District receives is staying the same. This means the district is looking at a shortfall of $49 million over the next two years. The Anchorage Education Association said up to 140 teachers and 80 support staff will lose their jobs as a result.

Fewer teachers means bigger classes, but the district is responding with another plan — switching from six periods a day to seven at middle and high schools.

Students would take an extra class and each class would be a little shorter. But this would also mean teachers would teach one extra class, upping their workload along with the students’.

That’s the trade-off: smaller class sizes, but more work for everyone.

The plan isn’t set in stone. The legislature could approve more money for the district, lessening the cuts and their impact.

“The district has to make its budget now and it has to get it approved in the next couple of months,” said Andy Holleman, AEA president. “They won’t actually know how much money they’ve gotten until March or April or May and so this is a little bit of a shot in the dark.”

The district won’t discuss the cuts until the official budget is released on Jan. 21.

Holleman said there are ways parents can take action: get educated and contact your legislator. That’s something parents we spoke to said they plan to do.

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