Funding cuts force SERRC to shed staff

Juneau office cuts three; five more to lose jobs when other locations close

Posted: Friday, June 20, 2003

The Juneau office for the Southeast Regional Resource Center will lose three full-time employees at the end of this month due to state and federal budget cuts, the nonprofit agency announced Thursday.

SERRC also will close its adult education centers in Ketchikan and Klawock, on Prince of Wales Island. The two centers had a total of five full-time employees.

Established in 1976, SERRC provides educational services to Alaska school districts. The organization also offers adult education classes in reading, writing, math and computer skills, and holds classes to help people pass the general educational development or GED exam. English as a second language classes and job training programs also are offered.

The nearly $600,000 in cuts will take effect in fiscal year 2004, which begins July 1. Next year's budget will be less than half of this year's, which was $1.2 million, said JoAnn Henderson, executive director for SERRC.

"These cuts will not have as big of an impact here in Juneau as it will have in other parts of the region," said Henderson.

Juneau has an established adult education infrastructure that can pick up the work of the three lost employees, she said.

"In Ketchikan and Prince of Wales and other areas of Southeast, those other services aren't options," Henderson said. "There's not a lot of ways to provide those other kinds of services."

SERRC has about 30 full- and part-time employees in Juneau, and more than 80 total employees in the state.

The cuts come from federal and state funds distributed by the Alaska Department of Labor, Henderson said.

The state cut about $50,000 from an adult education basic grant for the program and the federal government cut $400,000 from adult and dislocated worker funds. Another $190,000 of federal funds for adult education was reapportioned by the state Department of Labor to other areas of Alaska with a larger number of adults without high school diplomas than Southeast, Henderson said.

Representatives from the Department of Labor were unavailable for comment Thursday.

SERRC knew cuts were coming for about a month, but didn't know how the cuts would play out in the agency's affairs until Wednesday, Henderson said. The organization is trying to restructure so the cuts have as little an impact as possible.

"We'll just try to be entrepreneurial," she said. "We'll look at where the needs are and be adaptable."

• Christine Schmid can be reached at cschmid@juneauempire.com.



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