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Anchorage School District announces 100 cut jobs, $4 million savings

Craig MedredAlaska Dispatch

On Wednesday, the Anchorage School District (ASD) announced a new reorganization plan that will cut 100 jobs and save $4 million out of a budget gap estimated at $25 million.

According to the announcement, most of the cuts were made to district administration and support staff. Full-time in-classroom teachers were spared. Teaching assistants, tutors and school secretaries are on the chopping block, but administrative and support staff at district headquarters make up more than 25 percent of the cuts.

"No direct instruction teaching staff has been eliminated or is anticipated to be laid off in the upcoming budget cycle," said the district, adding that it doesn't plan to reduce the number of full-time teachers at work in classrooms for the upcoming budget cycle.

But Sharon Baker of the TOTEM Association for Education Support Personnel told the Anchorage Daily News that this news isn't necessarily comforting. Baker said, "(Just) Because a position isn't filled doesn't mean the work no longer exists."

Until now, most ASD in-school staff cuts occurred through attrition as teachers retired or as jobs were vacated and then eliminated entirely, said Baker. This new reorganization plan, which comes in advance of the 2013-2014 school year budget planning, is the biggest in years.

"We must continue making reductions. Flat and declining revenues going forward do not support our current staffing level," said ASD Superintendent Jim Browder in the district's announcement. "I believe reducing through attrition softens the blow as compared to issuing mass layoffs at the end of the year. We as a district must operate inside of the funds made available to us annually by the city, state and federal government."

Read more from the district's release.