School Board continues work on budget

    Teacher Jessica Chester (center) and Principal Molly Box (far right) appear with members of the Juneau School Board.

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Juneau Schools face a $35 million reduction in state education funding this year.

    The budget predicts an average daily enrollment of 4,592 students, a decrease of 28 students from this year.  It includes approximately $1.4 million as a beginning fund balance.

    The average teacher will cost $108,400.  The proposed budget is $68.5 million.

    The proposed teacher allocation rate will range from up to 25.5 students in kindergarten through second grade.  30 students per class in grades 3-5, 26 students per class in grades 6-8, and 27 students per class in grades 9-12.

    The district plans to cut classified employees by 4.75 positions. 

    The budget also includes negotiated salary increases for employees.

    The budget also assumes flat state funding of $5,930 per student.

    The Board heard an appeal from several teachers to not increase pupil to teacher ratios.

    Board Member Emil Mackey supported the reduction of the PTR  in fourth and fifth grades from 28 students to 26 students.  That motion was later withdrawn.

    Several teachers asked the board to not increase class sizes this year.

    The second and final reading of the budget is scheduled for March 19 at 6 pm.

    Language Teacher Jessica Chester was named the Pacific Northwest Teacher of the Year.  She is a former teacher of the year at Harborview Elementary.  She works in the Tlingit Culture, Language and Literacy program.  She was able to take a trip to Washington DC.  The Johnson-O’Malley Education program (JOM) offers supplementary, culturally appropriate programs and services that meet the unique and specialized educational needs of Alaska Native and American Indian students.

    Johnson-O'Malley is a non-profit that works to create, develop and support standards for education systems and native students.

    Chester said she was thrilled to get to go to the capital and learn from other teachers.

    "It was great to meet with other educators.  They had workshops where teachers were sharing ideas.  I got some great ideas for history lessons.  It was amazing to see some of the stuff we are doing in Juneau is done at other places."

    Her principal Molly Box praised Fletcher as a teacher who loves her students and has a passion for what she does.

    In other actions; the board approved the 2021-2022 district calendar.  The start date for school would be August 16th and the final day May 25.

    The first semester would end on December 22.

    Parent-teacher conferences would be held on October 19-20 and February 21.

    Teacher in-service days would be scheduled on August 11-12, January 6-7 and May 25.

    The legislative fly-in for school superintendents begins Monday, March 16.  Several bills will be on the table including the Alaska Reads Act, and House Bill 236 that would increase the base student allocation to $6,045 in fiscal year 2020 and $6,155 in fiscal year 2021.


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