• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 10s

Teachers face insecurity in wake of Anchorage School Board budget cuts

By Shannon Ballard Photojournalist: John Thain - 8:43 PM May 5, 2015

Today, several Anchorage teachers are asking, “Will I have a job?”

Bryan Bearss is a literacy coach. For the past year, he’s helped third graders at Abbott Loop Elementary get a better grip on reading and writing. But now, he’s learning that loving your job doesn’t mean that job is always going to be there.

“Just the idea that it’s one less support for the kids that need it, that’s the hard part,” said Bearss.

The Anchorage School Board decided to scale back its budget and, as a result, 70 district positions will be cut.

Lawmakers in Juneau are still trying to finalize the state budget, though most of them have taken a break until May 12. That’s left Anchorage school officials making budget decisions without knowing what’s going to happen with state funding.

It’s been a frustrating process that’s left a wave of insecurity. Literacy coaches, like Bearss, in the Anchorage School District are among the positions that have been eliminated from next year’s budget.

Bearss is tenured, so he says he’s not out of a job but will have to find a new spot to fill within the district.

“We saw some great results with the kids,” Bearss said. “And it’s hard to tell what’s going to happen with that.”

That insecurity is a big problem, says Andy Holleman, president of the Anchorage Education Association.

“This whole thing is just sort of a poison pill,” said Holleman.

People are looking for answers and wondering what’s next for them, but Holleman says there’s still too much uncertainty in Juneau to say.

“People are calling and trying to figure out where things are at. I don’t think it’s going to be as severe as people might think from looking at the budget, but it’s not settled yet and that’s unsettling,” said Holleman.

While funding for jobs like Bearss’ have been zeroed out, he’s hopeful the influence of a good teacher can never be erased.

“I can worry all I want. It’s not going to fix anything,” Bearss said. “I know I’m going to be a teacher. That’s all that matters to me right now. I’ll be teaching and I’ll be helping kids in some format.”

It’s possible that lawmakers in Juneau could reinstate some education funding. If so, the Anchorage School Board says bringing back literacy coaches is a top priority, but Bearss says he’s not counting on it.

Latest Stories

  • Politics

    Libertarian vice presidential candidate in Alaska to campaign for Gary Johnson

    by Daniella Rivera on Oct 27, 22:11

    With less than two weeks to election day, it’s crunch time for campaigns. Thursday, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson’s running mate, became the first candidate on a 2016 presidential ticket to make a campaign stop in Alaska. During a town hall event he told voters they’re aiming for the White House and […]

  • Lifestyle

    The Hungry Chum: Kava’s is more than pancakes, it’s aloha

    by The Hungry Chum on Oct 27, 21:35

    The red vinyl covering the seat of the booth groaned as I reached for my yellow mug of diner coffee. Suddenly, my weekend morning (OK, early afternoon) was interrupted by a wave of recollection: driving in a white Jeep on a road that hugged the ocean, windows down and music up. Much to the dismay […]

  • News

    APD asking for public’s help locating vulnerable adult

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Oct 27, 21:02

    The Anchorage Police Department (APD) is asking for the public’s help locating a 33-year-old man with mental health conditions. According to a release from the department, Jason Bailey was last seen leaving a Mountain View assisted living home, on the 3700 block of Parsons Avenue, Wednesday. Police said he left the home at 12:30 p.m. […]

  • News

    Anchorage airport wants to charge city to use snow dump

    by Lauren Maxwell on Oct 27, 20:16

    Many Alaskans are crossing their fingers for more snow this winter but some city officials may feel differently. That’s because there could be one less place to put the snow if Anchorage gets a lot of it. Alan Czajkowski is the director of Maintenance and Operations for Anchorage. Czajkowski said for more than 25 years […]

  • Politics

    Behind the Ballot: Ray Metcalfe for US Senate

    by Liz Raines on Oct 27, 19:44

    He’s known by many as “Disco Ray,” a nickname he earned dancing at the Baranof Hotel in Juneau, while serving in the Alaska House in the early 1980s. Now, Ray Metcalfe calls himself the “anti-corruption candidate,” for U.S. Senate. “You can get change with this if you take it to the ballot box and vote,” […]

  • News

    FBI teams up with local law enforcement for child abduction training

    by Heather Hintze on Oct 27, 18:29

    Agents from the FBI teamed up with police officers and troopers from around Alaska to conduct an intensive training to respond to a child abduction. Training scenario: At 7:50 a.m., a 9-year-old girl went missing near DeArmoun Road and Specking Road. Law enforcement officers turned a local church into a command post to begin the […]

  • On-Air

    Reality Check w/ John Tracy: What’s in a name?

    by John Tracy on Oct 27, 16:57

    The residents of Utqiaġvik have about four more weeks of sunrises until the sun disappears for another winter. Utqiaġvik is the Inupiat name for Barrow and, as voters recently decided, will be the official name of Alaska’s northernmost village. The vote was close — passage came by just six votes. Many of those opposed to the […]

  • DayBreak

    Mic Check in the Morning: The Hannah Yoter Band

    by Daybreak Staff on Oct 27, 16:11

    With a new album coming out Nov. 18 and a selection of shows this holiday season, The Hannah Yoter Band took some time out Thursday morning to bring their folky Americana sound to the Daybreak studio. Yoter said the album, “Something Good,” was recorded mostly live in a cabin in Hope, Alaska, where the singer hails from. The live […]