• 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
ANCHORAGE –

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

    Immigration law experts react to SCOTUS decision on travel ban

    by Steffi Lee on Jun 26, 20:40

    The Supreme Court of the United States will hear full arguments on President Donald Trump’s travel ban on six Muslim-majority countries while letting parts of it go into effect. The decision came down Monday. It impacts foreign nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. In the 9-0 ruling, justices will not allow the ban […]

  • Politics

    Impasse on oil tax bill stalls special session

    by Liz Raines on Jun 26, 20:33

    Lawmakers are still in special session, but only a handful are in Juneau. The capitol building will likely stay empty for the rest of the week, perhaps longer. That’s because Gov. Bill Walker has only put one item on the agenda– and it isn’t the one either side wanted. Lawmakers were expecting to take up […]

  • News

    Klatt Road roundabout design concerns some drivers

    by Heather Hintze on Jun 26, 17:54

    Drivers in South Anchorage are learning to navigate a new roundabout. Alaska Department of Transportation crews spent more than one month constructing a new traffic circle at the intersection of West Klatt Road and Johns Road. Some people took to social media to voice their complaints about the roundabout’s design, saying the concrete barriers in […]

  • News

    State gets approval for survey work for Cold Bay roadway

    by Lauren Maxwell on Jun 26, 17:49

    Governor Walker announced Monday the state has received permission to begin survey work that could lead to a road between King Cove and Cold Bay. Walker said he got a personal phone call Monday morning from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke letting him know the state could begin survey work to seek a route with the […]

  • News

    2 Marines badly burned in ground flash fire on U.S. base

    by CBS News on Jun 26, 15:13

    MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif. — A ground flash fire on Marine Corps Air Station Miramar injured two Marines performing aircraft maintenance on an F/A-18 Sunday night, base officials say. The region has been experiencing extremely high temperatures, notes CBS San Diego affiliate KFMB-TV. “Both Marines are currently being treated for severe burns at […]

  • News

    Duck pond at Cuddy Park is much cleaner

    by Lauren Maxwell on Jun 26, 13:50

    A “Don’t Feed the Birds” campaign seems to be making a difference when it comes to the duck pond at Cuddy Park. Thom Eley with the Anchorage Waterways Council said levels of fecal coliform, the bacteria that comes from bird feces, is normally sky-high this time of year, but two recent tests show the levels […]

  • Man wanted for failing to appear on assault charge

    by KTVA Web Staff on Jun 26, 13:47

    A 19-year-old man is wanted by Anchorage Police for failing to appear in court. Dominik Lacell Spivey has an outstanding warrant for failure to appear related to an assault charge from last March. Spivey is described as 5-foot-10, weighing 170 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. If you have information on his whereabouts, you’re asked […]

  • Humpback whale breaches super-close to boat off NJ coast

    by CBS News on Jun 26, 13:22

    A New Jersey man videotaped a humpback whale surging out of the water right alongside his small fishing boat last week, and the footage has gone viral. The whale showed up in the waters just a mile or so off the northern coast of New Jersey. Paul Ziolkowski, of Union Beach, caught the moment on […]