‘Doing more with less’: Anchorage School Board approves budget

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - On Tuesday, the Anchorage School Board approved its $559-million preliminary budget for the 2018-2019 year, which calls for cutting 90 positions, according to ASD Superintendent Dr. Deena Bishop.

Dr. Bishop said about 50 of those cuts are teaching positions.

"We are going to have fewer positions, 25 of those (teachers and aides) are due to lower enrollment from this year and last year, so we are catching up with that," said Bishop. "But still, 25 positions in schools is quite large as well."

Jim Anderson, the Anchorage School District’s Chief Financial Officer said the district was faced with bridging a $13-million dollar deficit.

“We really had to do a pretty intrusive look at every department across the district where we could either design a program or we could restructure organizations,” said Anderson.

According to the ASD Preliminary Budget Handbook, reductions and cuts include ‘10 teacher expert positions and shifting those positions back to the schools’ and reducing 6.69 gifted teachers at the middle and high schools.

Reductions from the custodial staff include 18 mid-shift custodians along with five custodial supervisors, according to the 2018-19 ASD Preliminary Budget.

Anderson said that normally, ASD has around 200 to 250 positions open each year due to attrition, those retiring or moving elsewhere.

Class sizes will change, reflecting the projected enrollment size for next year, said Bishop.

“At this time, the high schools took the biggest jump in class size. We moved from 29 by the end of the day to about 30.5 and thirty-one (per) teacher,” said Bishop.

Anderson said that revenue added to the budget is due to the King Career Center becoming a full-time public high school.

"Turning that into a high school next year, the same number of students are going there all day long, but we will get a million dollars in revenue," said Anderson.

Bishop said the next step for the budget is a vote of approval from the Anchorage Assembly.

Click here for the Anchorage School District's 2018-19 Preliminary Budget.

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