ASD’s “Dire Budget Crisis”

“There are no painless roads ahead.” That’s according to the Anchorage School District’s superintendent as the district struggles with a “dire” budget crisis. Your Alaska Link’s Jamie Holmes has the latest.

Members of the Anchorage assembly joined the school board for a special meeting today. The main focus was, of course, the district’s $68 million budget gap. We’ve told you about the potential cost-saving options being discussed. They include: outsourcing sports, moving 6th grade to middle school, and cuts to the immersion and ignite programs.

Today, the superintendent emphasized, “everything is still on the table.”

“We’re not at a point where any program is “safe” I know there was some editorializations of some of the conversations we’ve been having about immersion specifically. Immersion is not “safe.” I want to be very clear that what the administration recommended was we are very unlikely to recommend a cut to immersion entirely. But what we did say is that we need to look at the way we’re administering all of our programs.” – Supt. Bryantt Jharret

The board is also weighing the option of closing or re-purposing several elementary schools to save some money. Those schools are:

  • Abbott Loop
  • Birchwood
  • Klatt
  • Nunaka Valley
  • Northwood
  • and Wonder Park

Town halls are currently being held so that the public can weigh in.

“We don’t know and I don’t even think the board members know right now how many of these schools are going to close.” – Jim Anderson,  ASD Chief Financial Officer

Final decisions regarding cuts and closures will be announced next month. The superintendent acknowledged today: “the path forward will a difficult one for the community.”

“Every single program that we offer at ASD could look very differently next year because there’s no way to adjust a $68 million deficit without making drastic changes to anything.” – Supt. Bryantt Jharrett

Jamie Holmes, Your Alaska Link.