Anchorage School District Receives Extra $19 Million

Anchorage School District Superintendent Carol Comeau was pleasantly surprised to get nearly $19 million in extra money for the upcoming school year. Some of the money comes from a one-time legislative appropriation to offset high energy costs, although the district can use it for re-instating positions or other needs. There is also new money to bolster technical and vocational training and some funds will offset retirement costs.

Comeau says the funds will be used to upgrade aging computer equipment, restore 20 teacher positions and supervisors as well as expand internet and online class offerings.

She says she’s grateful for the funds but wishes there was more stability built into the system for building budgets for the district. She says the district can’t go directly to the voters to request funding increases; it must go through the legislature and assembly.

Comeau says even though the yearly struggle over building the budget is frustrating, she’s very grateful to the legislature for increasing the career and technical education funding. The new total must still be approved by the Anchorage Assembly.

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Lori Townsend is the News Director for Alaska Public Media. She has worked in print and broadcast journalism for nearly 30 years. Radio brought her to Alaska, where she worked as a broadcast trainer for Native fellowship students at Koahnic Broadcasting before accepting a reporting/host position with APRN in 2003. APRN merged with Alaska Public Media a year later. Through her freelance work, she has produced news and feature stories nationally and internationally for Independent Native News, National Native News, NPR , Pacifica, Monitor Radio, Radio Netherlands and AIROS. Townsend is the recipient of numerous awards for her work from the Alaska Press Club, the Native American Journalists Association and a gold and a silver reel award from the National Federation of Community Broadcasters. 

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