Letters to the Editor

Letter: Cut more teachers

The Anchorage School District is failing the people of Anchorage. Its administrators clearly don’t care about prudently managing their budget or the money of the property taxpayers of Anchorage or State of Alaska. The Inlet View school bond was voted down, yet they have the gall to disrespect the voters and consider using other money to build the school anyway, just as they did with changing East High School’s name. A large majority polled said “no” to the name change, and they did it anyway.

The ASD plays the same game every year. They refuse to manage the budget properly, then, to gin up public support for their mismanagement, they list a bunch of cuts they know will cause outrage in hopes of getting the public behind them. At the same time, they cheerlead the public into demanding even greater amounts for education. A choice is given: more schools or else more prisons. The fact is, due to declining enrollment, we need fewer schools and more prisons. Nearly everyone in prison attended public schools, making it a false choice.

Our declining student enrollment numbers should be celebrated, not mourned. Fewer students mean we need fewer schools, teachers and support staff. The teachers and staff are our greatest annual cost and the more we can cut, the better. We should be shutting down schools and combining them yearly, not screaming “fire” in a half-empty school. It’s total mismanagement to keep schools open that aren’t needed. No number of front-page sad stories of how the school will be missed changes that fact.

Perhaps the next greatest waste of ASD money is funding language immersion programs. These programs, by their very nature, teach kids to learn skills that have little to no use in Alaska or its future. Our best and brightest will always leave Alaska because there’s so much more to living a great life in the Lower 48. How often are kids going to go to Japan, and why should taxpayers have to fund teaching that language?

The bottom line is the ASD is failing the students and taxpayers. Sadly, the students and ASD aren’t being held accountable to anyone. People are fed up and that’s why school bonds are failing. The ASD School Board members should be totally ashamed of themselves.

— Richard Rhyner

Anchorage

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