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Added school funds spare summer program

Juneau School Board approves revised operating budget of $40.77 million

Posted: Wednesday, August 06, 2003

The extra money the Juneau schools received from the city in July will save four teachers' jobs. It also will allow students who aren't meeting state standards in English and math to take free summer courses in those subjects.

The Juneau School Board officially approved a revised operating budget of about $40.77 million Tuesday. It incorporates the $305,900 the Juneau Assembly granted in late July to fund the schools up to the new state-set maximum of local contributions.

When the state raised its per-student spending for next school year, mostly by folding in a grant program, it triggered an increase in allowable local contributions to schools.

District officials said the $305,900 will reverse the planned cuts of one teacher each from Juneau-Douglas High School, Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School, Glacier Valley Elementary School and Mendenhall River Community School.

It also will allow the district to provide free courses in the summer to 400 to 500 students who are struggling in English and math, and in a few cases wouldn't go on to the next grade without passing the course.

This year about 200 students attended the elementary summer school program, nearly twice as many as last year, Summer Connection Principal Kimberly Homme said. About 100 middle school students and about 130 high school students went to summer school.

Despite the extra money from the city, the school district has cut about $1.4 million from its budget, including the equivalent of six full-time teachers. It also eliminated the early buses home for kindergartners and the after-school activity buses, reduced its budgets for maintenance and textbooks, cut literacy and math specialists at JDHS and will spend less on special education.

The state reduced its funding to Juneau schools by about $160,000 for the 2003-04 school year. But most of the budget cuts have been to provide money to allow teachers and support staff to move up their salary schedules for added experience, to provide a larger contribution to their health insurance premiums and to put more money into retirement plans.

Eric Fry can be reached at efry@juneauempire.com.



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