Anchorage School District dealing with estimated $68M budget deficit

Anchorage School District dealing with estimated $68M budget deficit
Published: Sep. 8, 2022 at 11:53 AM AKDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - With the Anchorage School District using up most of its temporary funds, Superintendent Dr. Jharrett Bryantt confirmed budget problems at Wednesday’s Anchorage School Board meeting.

“Our budget deficit is in the magnitude of at least 60 million dollars and potentially much more,” Bryantt said. “For that reason, we can not leave any stone unturned.”

In a Wednesday letter to parents of ASD students, Bryantt said the estimated deficit for the fiscal year 2024 is sitting at $68 million, adding that the primary funding source, the State of Alaska Foundation Formula, has stayed largely the same while costs have skyrocketed.

It did not happen overnight, Bryantt said, adding that the budget deficit has been accumulating over the last seven years.

District Chief Financial Officer, Jim Anderson, outlined some of the possible solutions.

“Initially, we’re looking at programs, we’re looking at potential school closures, we’re repurposing those schools into a different use,” he said.

Some of the programs the district said could possibly be cut are language immersion, band, orchestra, sports, and other activities. Anderson said the district is potentially considering moving sixth graders to middle schools.

“Ultimately we need to have more than 68 million dollars worth of choices, and then we’ll prioritize those for the board over what’s best for student outcomes,” Anderson said. “For the cost per child, what impacts the most children in a positive way, and of course that moves up on the priority list that we really don’t want to go there unless we really need to.”

The superintendent said in the message to families that surveys will soon be available to offer their input. It would be the first of several community surveys that will be put out to the public, with the goal to get information from parents and students to help with the process of making decisions.

The community surveys can be found on the FY24 budget solutions webpage.