• 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

  • News

    Mat-Su’s Silver Fox Inn sustains major damage in morning fire

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Oct 07, 11:16

    A fire broke out Wednesday morning at the Silver Fox Inn, near Wasilla, causing significant damage. Emergency crews responded to the report of a fire at the hotel, bar and grill at about 7 a.m., after a renter in an apartment next door spotted the fire on the way to work. No one was inside the […]

  • News

    Budget cuts force 4 Alaska ferries out of service

    by Associated Press on Oct 07, 10:52

    State transportation officials plan to take four of Alaska’s 11 ferries out of service next summer because of budget cuts. The Juneau Empire reports the marine highway system unveiled its summer 2016 draft schedule on Tuesday. The state will idle the Taku, Fairweather and Chenega next summer, and the ferry Malaspina will only operate during […]

  • News

    Alaska DNR designates ‘protection of fish, wildlife habitat’ within Chuitna River watershed

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Oct 07, 9:42

    The state Division of Mining, Land & Water has issued a decision on the Chuitna Citizens Coalition Inc.’s applications – granting the coalition instream flow reservations for Middle Creek/Stream 2003, a tributary of the Chuitna River. “These applications were requested to protect flows for the purpose of protection of fish and wildlife habitat, migration, and propagation,” […]

  • Crime

    Former Fairbanks tutor convicted of sexual abuse of a minor

    by Associated Press on Oct 07, 6:42

    A former Fairbanks public school tutor has been found guilty of forcing a boy to have sex with him in 2010. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports (http://bit.ly/1ZbmYmh ) that a Fairbanks jury on Tuesday convicted Claude Fowlkes III of three counts of sexual abuse of a minor. Fowlkes in 2010 worked at Tanana Middle School. […]

  • Sports

    Nobody’s perfect, even in football

    by Dave Goldman on Oct 06, 22:58

    After last night’s blown call in the Seahawks-Lions game, fans are clamoring for more instant replay. I’m all for it too, as long as subjective officiating remains a key part of football. Last night stands out because it appeared to be a black and white call simply missed. But this wades into a much deeper […]

  • Politics

    UPDATE: Alaska preliminary elections roundup; Palmer opts out of marijuana

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Oct 06, 21:04

    Results current as of 7 a.m. City of Palmer The Palmer ballot had two city council seats and one proposition, which asked voters to decide if they wanted to ban marijuana cultivation, manufacturing and testing facilities, as well as retail stores within city limits. More than half of residents, 54.5 percent, voted yes on Proposition 1, […]

  • News

    Municipality of Anchorage looking to buy more assets in Cook Inlet

    by Alexis Fernandez on Oct 06, 20:04

    The Municipality of Anchorage is looking to buy more assets in Cook Inlet. On Tuesday, the Anchorage Assembly passed a resolution allowing the Berkowitz Administration to move forward with a bid to purchase assets in Cook Inlet. ConocoPhillips is offering to sell its one-third interest in the Beluga River Unit, its 100 percent interest in the […]

  • News

    Juneau family speaks out after losing two sons to heroin

    by Heather Hintze on Oct 06, 19:20

    Shelly Eidsness buried her youngest son, Brock, just three weeks ago — after he died from a heroin overdose in Juneau. “What goes through my mind is, it’s not real,” Eidsness said through her tears. “I want him back. I want my boy.” It’s the second time her family has been impacted by the dangerous drug. […]