About 150 people demonstrated Saturday in downtown Anchorage, protesting cuts announced Friday to the Anchorage School District budget, including more than 200 layoffs.
The event was organized by National Education Association Alaska members. Some 300 NEA Alaska members had previously scheduled a meeting in Anchorage, which morphed into what Lori Blakeslee, NEA-Alaska communications manager, termed an "impromptu public education flash mob." NEA invited parents and local teachers to participate in Saturday's event.
"It went great. We had great signs and everybody is pretty fired up," Blakeslee said. "We're really all feeling that this is an issue that needs to be addressed."
Democratic Representative Les Gara made an appearance at the gathering to support teachers and educational professionals.
"Last year Anchorage was forced to eliminate summer school. This year it's support staff. With consistently declining support, the next step will be teachers," Gara said in a press release. "The state has allowed inflation to eat into school resources creating roadblocks to student achievement."
Anchorage School District Superintendent Jim Browder is expected to present his proposed budget to the Anchorage School Board at 2:30 p.m. Thursday. Read more.