ANCHORAGE -

Now that state lawmakers have finally worked out how much money they're sending to local schools, the Anchorage assembly and school district are talking about lessening the blow of budget cuts.    

They discussed property tax rates for ASD this year and the possibility of spending part of a city budget surplus to help schools.

Out of the city's 11 million dollar surplus, the assembly is considering putting about 5.5 million dollars into local schools.

ASD school board president Eric Croft says the school district is doing everything it can to work with the assembly to keep more teaching positions from being cut.

"The funding package that came out was really disappointing after some pretty high expectations and even after the assembly appears to be moving in the right direction, we're worried that because of the state's approach to education that there will continue to be teacher layoffs this year," Croft said. 

Assemblyman and chair of the budget and finance committee Bill Starr, describes it as "a balancing act" between taking care of local needs as well as supporting education.

"The proposal today was of course to take some of our city savings and move them over to the school district budget," Starr said. "We're allowed to do that, how much do you contribute out of your local saved dollars could potentially be in reserved for school district spending."

If the proposal is approved by the assembly, the money would go into paying for SROs or police officers at schools.

"They're working within a constraints of what the legislature did, and the legislature, unlike this assembly, is not doing all it can to help our schools," Croft said.

The education debate will continue on Monday at the assembly's special meeting, where an anticipated vote over what to do with the surplus money.

 "It's just a hard conversation that needs to have either tax and spend or tax and save or spend what's appropriate for city services," Starr said.