Juneau School District lets go of 10 first-year teachers

Despite some state-level financial help, the Juneau School District is letting go of 10 elementary school teachers for the upcoming school year.

District Superintendent Mark Miller said there were multiple factors that played into the cuts, which were a part of the $3.5 million total cuts from the Fiscal Year 2019 budget.

“We ran out of money, is the long and the short of it,” Miller said in a phone interview with the Empire Wednesday. “We did not get quite what we were hoping for from the state, plus we lost 54 students.”

[School district budget cut another $3.5M]

A drop in student enrollment also lowers funding from base student allocations, which is the amount of money funded from the state per full-time student at a school. For its FY 2019 budget, the district had planned to receive $100 more in BSA than last year’s amount of $5,930. However, the district received less than expected from the Legislature during the legislative session this year.

[Legislature approves flat schools budget, but no increases may force cuts]

The Legislature approved $20 million as a statewide funding to all public schools this year, which is $198,000 less than expected, Director of Administrative Services David Means said.

Including pay and benefits, first-year teachers in the district make approximately $100,000. So with nearly $200,000 less than expected, that equals two teachers cuts, according to Means. The other eight cuts came from a lower number of retirements than expected. Miller said the district typically has about 10 retirements, and this year there are only three.

Means also explained that extra funding of about $2 million from the school’s savings account was needed to help balance the FY 18 budget.

“We used up our savings account,” Means said. “We used it to help sustain our current budget.”

Miller said if teachers in the district retire over the summer, any teacher who was let go is welcome to reapply to the district.

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