ASD recommends only axing one school in latest set of cost-cutting suggestions
School district’s administration says these adjustments to their original plan are based on feedback from school board members and a series of town hall meetings.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Anchorage School District outlined new and critical recommendations that it will ask the school board to approve Monday.
The district is facing a budget deficit of nearly $50 million, and school closures remain one of the most controversial options to cut costs. District administrators originally suggested closing six schools. but now, only one school — Abbott Loop Elementary School — is on the chopping block.
The IGNITE program for gifted students was also on the original cut list. Now, school administrators are recommending no changes to IGNITE at this time.
The new school district recommendations come a day after Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced his budget plan for the fiscal year 2024. The question remains if that funding plan will mitigate the challenges facing ASD and other school districts statewide.
“We’re really encouraged from what we heard yesterday and we’re really encouraged from what we’re hearing from our local legislators,” Director of Communications for the district MJ Thim said. “And we’re excited to get down to Juneau and start to work on those efforts.”
Some of the proposed changes released today within ASD include:
- ASD administrators are recommending that the school board pull $28.3 million dollars from its fund balance, which they say will reduce more than half of the school district’s budget deficit.
- The closure of the aforementioned Abbott Loop Elementary School would save the district $974,000.
- Other possible changes include an increased pupil-to-teacher ratio, which could save as much as $7.1 million dollars.
- Cuts to ASD’s virtual staffing and support by making it only available to middle and high school students could save as much as $690,000.
- Reducing the cost of district administration, staff and other costs directly related to administration could save a little more than $2,000,000.
The district sent out a letter to parents saying that it is making every effort for a safe and smooth commute to school on Monday. The snow days will not alter winter break — which starts Wednesday, as planned — and currently, ASD does not expect to alter spring break vacation to fit in make-up days.
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