ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - The budget strain is being felt throughout Anchorage, including in its education sector. With fewer students enrolled in Anchorage's public schools, there will be less funding for the municipality's school district.
The Anchorage School District has stated publicly that it's looking for public input on what would be the "most acceptable cuts" that would help preserve teaching positions and keep class sizes lower.
"There's no way to disconnect those cuts from impacts on children," said Tom Klaameyer, president of the Anchorage Education Association.
This school year, ASD saw a decrease of student enrollment by more than 600 students, which the district believes will have a direct impact on funding in the future; moreover, this could translate to cuts.
Klaameyer believes that ASD teachers should not be sacrificed, in order to solve ASD financial problems.
"I think everything is on the table – the district is looking to be more efficient, and we applaud those efforts," he stated. "The number of students per educator – we've got to maintain a class size that allows that one-on-one interaction with students."
If there is further future enrollment drop-off, a few ways to offset financial problems may include rezoning and requesting more state funding for Alaska public schools.
"We can't buy into that narrative that there's a choice between training teachers or classroom size," said Klaameyer. "We've got to do both, if we're going to have a quality education."
The ASD, AEA and members of the public will be allowed to speak their minds at the district’s Monday evening budget meeting.
When: Jan. 22 at 7 p.m.
Where: ASD Education Center | 5530 E Northern Lights Boulevard
You can learn more about the meeting by visiting ASD's website, here.