Anchorage School Board passes fiscal year 2023 preliminary budget

Mask policy dominates public testimony at meeting
Published: Feb. 23, 2022 at 9:24 AM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Anchorage School Board met for a regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday and masking policy dominated the discussion during the public testimony portion of the meeting.

Last Friday, the Anchorage School District announced it would make masking optional for students. This decision was not an action item during the meeting but could be taken up during the superintendent update portion of the meeting.

“Despite ASD’s efforts to make this look like an action being taken for the students, it is clearly nothing but an incoherent decision that places politics over practicality,” South Anchorage student Nathan Warden testified during Tuesday’s meeting. ”I urge you to make the logical choice and go back on your decision. Ensuring the safety, emotional well-being, and quality education you claim to be in favor of.”

Those who supported Superintendent Deena Bishop’s decision to make masking optional urged the school board to not reverse her decision.

“Let me start off by saying a simple thank you to Dr. Bishop,” Gruening Middle School student Adalyn Brown testified. “Thank you for ridding us of our mandatory masks, and to the board, thank you for honoring and supporting our superintendent’s decision.”

The preliminary budget for the 2023 fiscal year was passed by the school board, and Dave Donley was the only school board member who opposed it. The preliminary budget as passed by the school board approves an upper limit spending authority of $850,548,476.

The budget was approved with one amendment that allocates $5 million in the remaining ESSER II grant fund for the purpose of student mental health supports and related programming.

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