JSD to get hands on budget tonight

Posted: Tuesday, March 01, 2011

After months of committee work, the Juneau School District Board of Education will get its hands on the fiscal year 2012 budget on Tuesday.

The proposal cuts $4.1 million from the budget to meet a deficit — assuming the Alaska Legislature approves a $100 base per pupil increase. If the Legislature does not approve an increase, another $1 million will need to be trimmed.

On Tuesday, the board will see a proposal that maintains a 21:1 pupil-to-teacher ratio in kindergarten through second-grade classes. It also maintains a class size of 25:1 for third graders, which adds back the equivalent of four Full Time Equivalents (FTEs).

The second elementary art specialist, which was slated for a cut in a prior draft, is also added back in.

Extended Learning (EL) cuts of three FTEs in the elementary level remain, and the district will have to write a new EL plan.

Literacy leaders — now instructional coaches — will remain in staffing numbers as they are now at the elementary level, but those positions at the secondary level are being eliminated.

English Language Learners keeps the same number of teachers, but will be redistributed to even out the teaching load. The program administration will shift to an existing coordinator or director position.

One high school counselor is still on the chopping block.

Two FTE custodial positions will be cut, making fewer custodians than before Thunder Mountain High School opened.

Also on the proposed cut list are 2.5 FTE coordinators, which also combines the R.A.L.L.Y. and Community Schools supervisor positions. It also reduces an administrative assistant.

This proposed budget still cuts 2.0 FTE roving paraeducators, a one-half time special education teacher, a science coach position, the district-wide cultural specialist, the K-8 summer school program, a middle school EL counselor, the grant-funded pre-school pilot program, three FTE high school in-school suspension positions, the district’s drug testing contract by $50,000, four FTE individual site computer technicians, the maintenance budget, the custodial budget, overtime and other areas.

The total cuts in the first proposed budget reduction was $4.08 million. The latest proposal is a reduction of $3.98 million.

The proposed budget will seek a total of $26.3 million from the City and Borough of Juneau based upon funding allowable by state law.

The school board will review this proposal in its meeting starting at 6:15 p.m. today at Thunder Mountain High School — not its usual meeting place of Juneau-Douglas High School. It will have a second reading March 15 before it goes to the City Assembly.

In other business, the school board will look at a revision of next year’s school calendar. The revision includes adding back in Early Release Mondays and other adjustments based upon holidays.

• Contact reporter Sarah Day at 523-2279 or at sarah.day@juneauempire.com.

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