Cuts Loom Large In School District Budget

A multi-million dollar shortfall has prompted Anchorage School Superintendent Carol Comeau to recommend a 2011-2012 budget that cuts more than 50 staff positions, reduces summer school offerings and raises a number of district fees.

The reductions and eliminations occur in the district’s general fund. That’s the only portion of the annual budget where the board can make major adjustments. And at a little over 635 million dollars for 2011-2012, it’s the portion carrying the greatest expenses. The total budget, including debt service, is just under 812 million dollars.

About 90 percent of the general fund goes to salaries and benefits, so it’s not surprising when big cuts are required, that’s where the budget knife strikes deepest. Especially when trying to cover an estimated shortfall as large as 12 million dollars.

The over 50 eliminated positions include graduation support coordinators, two assistant principals, library media aides at all levels, three maintenance positions and one secretary at each of the comprehensive high schools. Comeau said the news for the class room was not as bleak, even if the respite was temporary.

Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchorage

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