A closely split Anchorage Assembly has voted to aid the Anchorage School District’s increasingly tight budget, approving a new increase in property taxes and full city funding of school resource officers during a special session Monday night.
The 6-5 vote, which saw a total of $5.8 million in new taxation adopted despite an estimated $13 million city budget surplus from 2013, came at about 8:30 p.m. Monday evening. A second vote approved $2.2 million to cover all 18 of the Anchorage Police Department's SROs.
ASD officials have recently said the district could preserve some teaching positions if it didn’t have to pay the city nearly $2 million a year in school fees and costs for Anchorage Police Department school resource officers. The district faces an estimated $23 million budget shortfall.
Waiving those fees had some traction among Assembly members, but the final form of any assistance to the district was still in flux last week. Assembly member Dick Traini was in favor of the concept, but other members of the body said the district had to work within its budget rather than avoiding costs.
The group Great Alaska Schools was out in force Monday, making its largest showing at the Assembly since members began to appear in favor of education funding.
In voting late Monday night, the Assembly unanimously approved the city's final budget. ASD officials didn't immediately have estimates on how many teaching positions the added funding would save.
Channel 2’s Caslon Hatch contributed information to this story.
This is a developing story. Please check KTUU.com and the Channel 2 newscasts for updates.