Anchorage school board members had a late night, Monday, listening to parents and students about recent teacher layoffs.
"I just feel like there’s something wrong in this city that seems to have so much that we can’t afford to pay our teachers and i just think it’s a real problem," said Bill Heubner, a parent who expressed a concern that a lot of parents share.
35 school district employees, including teachers, were told recently they would not be returning in the Fall. The district cut their positions as a way to make up for a multi-million dollar budget shortfall.
Board member Gretchen Guess, who until Monday night served as board president, said the school board made the following decisions to reinstate some of the teaching positons, including:
- 1.4 positions so 7th graders at Clark and Goldenview Middle Schools can continue their foreign language course in 8th grade.
- 1.6 positions to reinstate the art program at Gruening and Romig Middle Schools.
- 1.5 postions for middle and high school world language and art programs.
Guess said school system officials would issue a detailed press release Tuesday morning, outlining the changes made to the budget for next school year.
A group rallied together at the Park Strip, starting Sunday morning, for 35 hours in support of the 35 layoffs.
They waved signs and spoke out for the employees who were let go. One student said she's showing support not only for her teacher but the others too.
“We just want everyone to see that it’s possible for people to make a change in the system and maybe motivate someone,” said student Tziporah Lax.
Unless there's new revenue, the Monday evening meeting was the last chance to make changes on the budget before it goes to the Anchorage Assembly.
“We had months looking through these issues and tried the best we could to displace as few people as we had to, but also lay off as few people as we had to,” said Comeau before Monday night's meeting. “But, at the end of the day we did have a substantial number of teachers laid off but also support staff, some administration staff here at the education center, so it's been a difficult few months.”