The Sitka School Board Wednesday night (4-22-15) approved a budget for next year with only 3 fewer teachers -- but left open the question of whether or not to keep the Community Schools program.
The Sitka School Board’s decision to cut the Community Schools program drew a protest from the city last week (4-15-15). That disagreement led the board to postpone a final vote on the district budget.
The Sitka School Board's budget assumes the city will increase its funding by $1-million this year. Now, the Assembly is considering where that money might come from. Options range from eliminating sales tax exemptions to cutting library hours to putting a tax increase on the October ballot.
A deeply-divided school board passed a preliminary budget for next year that keeps both the Blatchley swimming pool and the Community Schools program functioning.
During budget testimony before the Senate Finance Committee, residents urged legislators to roll back proposed cuts to K-12 education, the Alaska Marine Highway System, domestic violence prevention, and public broadcasting.
The Sitka School District is facing a shortfall of up to $2.7-million for the upcoming school year. Superintendent Mary Wegner laid out a range of options, from ending the community schools program to laying off as many as nine teachers.
Staff cuts next year may be a foregone conclusion, as the Sitka School Board wrestles with an uncertain financial future. But board president Lon Garrison says, "We are not going to slash and burn."
The Sitka School District has gone on record in support of continued funding for Mt. Edgecumbe High School, but has no interest in taking the institution off of the state’s hands.
The Sitka School Board -- as usual -- is entering its annual budget cycle facing a significant deficit. But unlike past years, there’s no silver bullet from either the state or federal governments that’s likely to save the day.
Sitka High’s student body is hoping to create a better environment in the school, and they’ve taken their plans to the school board, with a pair of proposals that would confront sexual violence and discrimination head-on.