Anchorage resolution on state education funding warns of painful cuts to school district

The Anchorage Assembly and School Board this week are set to consider a joint resolution that calls for an increase in state education funding, warning of imminent cuts to teacher and staff positions after years of nearly flat state funding and a looming budget deficit.

“The Anchorage School Board may be forced to eliminate approximately 650 educators, paraprofessionals, and key support staff in May 2024 unless Legislative action is taken,” the resolution says.

“ASD’s commitment to providing all students an equal and adequate opportunity to achieve to the State’s curriculum and performance standards is now at unprecedented risk,” it says.

The resolution, which will be voted on Friday during a joint session, paints a stark picture of the Anchorage School District’s finances, including a minimum $95 million deficit for the coming year that will likely require cuts to programs and support services as well as staffing.

It asks the Legislature to pass immediate legislation during its upcoming session to increase its per-pupil transportation funding and make a significant inflation-based adjustment to the Base Student Allocation, the formula used to calculate state school funding.

While inflation increased by about 28% between 2016 and 2023, the BSA increased by just half a percentage point during that time, the resolution says. It calls for an increase from $5,960 to $7,615.

During a Tuesday school board meeting, members and district administrators referenced the hard financial decisions they might soon have to make without state intervention.


“We’re talking about putting more kids in the class, having fewer electives, having fewer clubs, having fewer activities, year after year after year,” said board member Andy Holleman. “It takes a toll.”

“This sucks,” said a tearful board member Kelly Lessens after encouraging students to reach out to their legislators and ask them to support education funding.

“When we cut education funds, we’re changing children’s trajectories for their future. And that’s what we’re looking at,” Lessens said.

Annie Berman

Annie Berman is a reporter covering health care, education and general assignments for the Anchorage Daily News. She previously reported for Mission Local and KQED in San Francisco before joining ADN in 2020. Contact her at