SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska



March 27, 2015
Friday PM

(SitNews) - Anchorage House Majority Caucus members expressed their disappointment today in response to the Anchorage Assembly’s passage of the Anchorage School District’s $784 million 2015-16 budget on Tuesday evening. The School District’s budget includes dozens of new full-time positions as well as state dollars that were cut within the Governor’s proposed budget in January.

“For months, Alaskans have heard about the effect of declining oil prices on our state’s revenue. We as legislators have begun to make incredibly tough cuts to our budget, which the governor already reduced significantly,” said Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux. “To see the Anchorage School District so flagrantly ignore the reality of the state of our budget is unacceptable and sets our schools up for failure.”

“The Anchorage School District appears to be blind to our fiscal reality,” said Rep. Craig Johnson. “Alaskans can see the need for tightening our belts, and have tasked leaders at all levels of government to spend responsibly and within our means.”

“This discussion is neither easy nor comfortable, but as a state we have to be honest with ourselves – the money just isn’t there,” said Rep. Lance Pruitt. “That the ASD thinks this is the time for brand new positions and budget growth is not only short-sighted, it is truly negligent.”

“When you find yourself in a fiscal hole, the first thing you do is stop digging,” said Rep. Dan Saddler. “By adopting a budget that expands payroll and escalates spending, the district is simply digging itself into a deeper hole – which isn’t fair to our schoolchildren or parents.”

“As a Legislature, we have worked hard, and will continue to work, to find reasonable cuts to stem our budget deficit,” said Rep. Charisse Millett, the House Majority Leader. “We have the expectation that other government entities will do the same. The district can’t keep its head in the sand and ignore our fiscal realities.”

“No one in the state wants to see our children struggle as a result of our financial situation. But with the district’s massive budget surplus last year, ASD has no need for a spending increase. We hope to see the district reconsider this unsound spending increase and provide a responsible plan for this coming school year,” said Rep. Liz Vazquez.

The Anchorage majority legislators sent a letter to the Anchorage School District today requesting that the Anchorage School District work with the Anchorage Assembly to amend the 2015-16 budget to reflect the Governor’s cut, and to recognize the need for efficiencies and spending restraint in this time of statewide budget shortfalls.

Edited by Mary Kauffman, SitNews

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Letter to the Anchorage School District pdf


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