Alaska Loses 600 Teachers, Staff Over Past 3 Years

Alaska’s largest school districts lost over 600 teachers and staff over the past three years. That’s the conclusion of a report produced by the Legislature’s research department.

Representative Les Gara.
Representative Les Gara.

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The report shows that teacher, career and guidance counselors or other education staff fell as student enrollment increased or remained flat. Teacher assistants, custodians, and other support staff took the biggest hits.

In Anchorage, the number of teachers has dropped by 3 percent since the 2010-2011 school year.

The report was requested by Reps. Les Gara and Harriet Drummond, both Democrats from Anchorage. Their caucus has been pushing for an increase in per student funding, which has been kept at the same level for the past four years. Gara and Drummond say this report shows the negative impact of not keeping classroom funding on pace with inflation.

Governor Sean Parnell and Republican lawmakers have instead given one-time finding increases for energy, school security, and other out of classroom expenses.

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Daysha Eaton, KMXT - Kodiak
Daysha Eaton is a contributor with the Alaska Public Radio Network. Daysha Eaton holds a B.A. from Evergreen State College, and a M.A. from the University of Southern California. Daysha got her start in radio at Seattle public radio stations, KPLU and KUOW. Before coming to KBBI, she was the News Director at KYUK in Bethel. She has also worked as the Southcentral Reporter for KSKA in Anchorage. Daysha's work has appeared on NPR's "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered", PRI's "The World" and "National Native News". She's happy to take assignments, and to get news tips, which are best sent via email. Daysha became a journalist because she believes in the power of storytelling. Stories connect us and they help us make sense of our world. They shed light on injustice and they comfort us in troubled times. She got into public broadcasting because it seems to fulfill the intention of the 4th Estate and to most effectively apply the freedom of the press granted to us through the Constitution. She feels that public radio has a special way of moving people emotionally through sound, taking them to remote places, introducing them to people they would not otherwise meet and compelling them to think about issues they might ordinarily overlook.