On Monday night, the Anchorage School Board once again heard arguments for what should not be cut in the 2019 budget.

The Anchorage School District is looking at every single option when it comes to carving out $13 million from the $700 million budget for 2019. State statute, as well as municipality ordinance, requires that the district has a balanced budget by March 1, 2019.

"We've presented the budget online, and since doing so, there have already been changes," ASD Superintendent Dr. Deena Bishop said. "We have a lot of folks interested in the reductions. Some reductions and rearrangements involve gifted programs in elementary schools. We have not moved forward with those, although, early on, they did go out in the budget."

The district is also looking at making cuts in administrative services with jobs like custodial work, along with different ratios in schools and class sizes.

"Our goal is to try to keep the cuts as far away from schools as possible," Dr. Bishop said. "We're looking at the administration building for a lot of the reductions. We understand the revenue picture presently, which is flat funding from the governor. We hope to increase that funding if there is a bill out there that may support the base student allocation. If not we haven't heard of any major reductions at the state level as compared to last year-- which was a five percent reduction. So, not seeing one is a positive move."

Even though the school stated they have yet to move forward with any cuts to gifted programs, it didn't stop people from voicing their concerns about it. No matter what the school board decides to cut, there will always be someone willing to fight for it.

"There is a problem with the process," Anchorage Education Association spokesperson Tom Klaameyer said. "You are statutorily required by the municipality to have a budget so it forces you into a perverse incentive to pit special ed students versus gifted students against whatever a regular student would be. To pit custodians against teachers, class size versus attracting and retaining everybody that you need to educate a child. The system is stacked against you. It is stacked against our kids and it is going to be harmful to the community should it continue."

The school board will vote on the final budget on February 20 and then present it to the assembly before the March 1 deadline.

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