School Board member explains vote against district's budget

Posted: Sunday, March 22, 2009

JUNEAU - Juneau School Board member JoAnne Bell-Graves cast the only dissenting vote against the school district's proposed $70.8 million budget at a board meeting Tuesday and explained her position Thursday.

Bell-Graves said she wanted the board to reexamine possible cuts in administration, particularly any growth since 2005, as an alternative to cutting teachers, drug counselors or outreach programs included in the budget package approved Tuesday.

Bell-Graves said she was trying to represent a view of constituents and budget advisory boards. She had spoken up about the possibility of administrative cuts during a Feb. 24 budget workshop. At the time, Superintendent Peggy Cowan said job cuts in administration weren't off the table, though Juneau's school administration already is leaner than most.

The budget approved Tuesday is not final and is still subject to change as funding from the federal stimulus package, state and Juneau Assembly are sorted out.

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