Education

Rep. Cathy Tilton, R-Wasilla, presides over a mostly empty House chamber at the end of an hourslong recess over education legislation on Monday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empure)

Tie vote kills early House debate on education funding

Lawmakers spend much of Monday in closed-door negotiations, plan to take up bill again Tuesday.

 

People rally outside the Alaska State Capitol, Monday, Jan. 29, in support of increased funding for public schools in the state. The rally was set to take place the night of Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s State of the State speech but the speech was delayed until Jan. 30 after high winds disrupted flights carrying speech guests and Cabinet members. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer)

A high cost of living and lack of a pension strain teachers in Alaska. Would bonuses help keep them?

Cory Hughes moved to a remote Alaska village to teach and would happily stay and retire there if he could afford to — despite the… Continue reading

 

Lisa Pearce (center), a financial analyst for the Juneau School District, explains the deadline officials are facing to take action to resolve a massive deficit during a work session Saturday at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé. Seated next to Pearce are Superintendent Frank Hauser (left) and school board member Britteny Cioni-Haywood. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

A plan moving forward: Consolidating grades 7-9 and special programs at JDHS, 10-12 at TMHS

School board, with time running out for budget-slashing decision, seeks more details on lone option.

 

Students in the Juneau Alaska Music Matters program perform for members of the Alaska Legislature and other attendees at an event Feb. 6 at the Alaska State Museum. (Photo by Emily Ferry)

Neighbors: Juneau Alaska Music Matters program receives state and national awards

For over 20 years Lorrie Heagy has been leading arts education integration in Juneau. This month the Alaska Arts Education Consortium awarded Lorrie the Arts… Continue reading

Students in the Juneau Alaska Music Matters program perform for members of the Alaska Legislature and other attendees at an event Feb. 6 at the Alaska State Museum. (Photo by Emily Ferry)
The Juneau School District is facing a current and future financial crisis, including deficit spending that has resulted in a projected $8 million shortfall for the current fiscal year, with leaders considering school consolidation among many other remedies. (City and Borough of Juneau photo)

Juneau School District’s deficit is ‘only’ $8M instead of $9.5M after further review and initial cuts

Leaders still looking at specific options for school consolidation, asking city to cover some costs.

The Juneau School District is facing a current and future financial crisis, including deficit spending that has resulted in a projected $8 million shortfall for the current fiscal year, with leaders considering school consolidation among many other remedies. (City and Borough of Juneau photo)
State Rep. Craig Johnson (center), an Anchorage Republican, consults with a staff member while chairing a House Rules Committee meeting at the Alaska State Capitol on Saturday to hear Senate Bill 140, which as modified by the committee makes sweeping changes to Alaska’s education system. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)

Battle lines in massive education bill set by House and Senate majorities

Senate says bill rushed and reckless; House calls it balanced solution to struggling school system.

State Rep. Craig Johnson (center), an Anchorage Republican, consults with a staff member while chairing a House Rules Committee meeting at the Alaska State Capitol on Saturday to hear Senate Bill 140, which as modified by the committee makes sweeping changes to Alaska’s education system. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
A state Department of Public Transportation and Public Facilities plow clears heavy snow from a road. The department has closed Thane Road overnight Monday and Tuesday due to the high risk of avalanches. (Alaska Department of Public Transportation and Public Facilities photo)

In-person city and school activities canceled Wednesday, but both offering remote services

Snow expected to end early Wednesday morning, but traffic and avalanche hazards remain high.

A state Department of Public Transportation and Public Facilities plow clears heavy snow from a road. The department has closed Thane Road overnight Monday and Tuesday due to the high risk of avalanches. (Alaska Department of Public Transportation and Public Facilities photo)
Alaska students hold up numbers representing the amount of an educator award presented in 2022. (Alaska Department of Education and Early Development photo)

My Turn: Double dippers — snatched education with a bonus, too

In a time of fiscal turbulence, why are we allowing Alaska’s children to exploit our budget through no fault of their own? K-12 education is… Continue reading

Alaska students hold up numbers representing the amount of an educator award presented in 2022. (Alaska Department of Education and Early Development photo)
From left, Bela Pyare, 13, Josie Elfers, 11, Nayeli Hood, 11, and Emily Ferry, a member of the Alaska Association of School Boards, discuss their testimony about a board-based education bill in a hallway at the Alaska State Capitol during a House Rule Committee meeting on Saturday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Sweeping education bill advances to House floor despite overwhelming opposition from educators

Bill contains $300 BSA increase, boosts for charter and homeschooling, random audits of districts.

From left, Bela Pyare, 13, Josie Elfers, 11, Nayeli Hood, 11, and Emily Ferry, a member of the Alaska Association of School Boards, discuss their testimony about a board-based education bill in a hallway at the Alaska State Capitol during a House Rule Committee meeting on Saturday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
An empty classroom at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé on July 20, 2022. (Photo by Lisa Phu/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska’s schools have among the highest rates of chronic absenteeism

In 2022, only one state, Arizona, had more chronically absent students than Alaska, where more than 45% of students missed enough school to be academically… Continue reading

An empty classroom at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé on July 20, 2022. (Photo by Lisa Phu/Alaska Beacon)
A view from the library of the Angoon High School, one of Alaska’s public schools, is seen on June 19, 2023. (Claire Stremple/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska board of education sends the plan for tribally run public schools to lawmakers

A report detailing the framework for tribally run public schools will be sent to the legislators and the governor’s office. The intent is that it… Continue reading

A view from the library of the Angoon High School, one of Alaska’s public schools, is seen on June 19, 2023. (Claire Stremple/Alaska Beacon)
The halls are lined with lockers and portraits of elders at the Anna Tobeluk Memorial School in Nunapitchuk on Oct. 12, 2023. (Photo by Claire Stremple/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska board of education lowers standard for student test scores, citing nationally high bar

State standards still among top third in nation, commissioner says.

The halls are lined with lockers and portraits of elders at the Anna Tobeluk Memorial School in Nunapitchuk on Oct. 12, 2023. (Photo by Claire Stremple/Alaska Beacon)
Members of the House Rules Committee hear testimony from staff for Sen. Lyman Hoffman, D-Bethel, about Senate Bill 140 on Wednesday. (Photo by James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska education reform bill appears on fast track after lawmakers see rewrite

House majority version includes a smaller funding boost than advocates requested

Members of the House Rules Committee hear testimony from staff for Sen. Lyman Hoffman, D-Bethel, about Senate Bill 140 on Wednesday. (Photo by James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Juneau School District administrators and board members listen Tuesday to a remote presentation by Lisa Pearce, hired as a budget expert in December, about how her analysis during the past few weeks revealed a $9.5 million deficit facing the district this fiscal year. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

School district leaders express shock, anger at $9.5M deficit, say fix by June 30 deadline unrealistic

Board to meet next week to review all non-required expenses, such as student activities, for cuts.

Juneau School District administrators and board members listen Tuesday to a remote presentation by Lisa Pearce, hired as a budget expert in December, about how her analysis during the past few weeks revealed a $9.5 million deficit facing the district this fiscal year. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Juneau School District leaders learned during the past few days they are facing a $9.5 million budget deficit for the fiscal year that ends June 30. (City and Borough of Juneau photo)

My Turn: Why the Juneau School District has an unexpected $9.5M deficit and what comes next

The Juneau School District’s FY24 Budget Reconciliation document came as a shock to the school board, district personnel and our community. Since we have been… Continue reading

Juneau School District leaders learned during the past few days they are facing a $9.5 million budget deficit for the fiscal year that ends June 30. (City and Borough of Juneau photo)
The Juneau School District is facing a deficit of more than $9.5 million for the current fiscal year, according a district report published Jan. 5. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire file photo)

Juneau School District facing $9.5 million deficit this year, new analysis shows

Lower revenues and higher costs mean $7.6M shortfall for FY24, plus $1.9M deficit from FY23.

The Juneau School District is facing a deficit of more than $9.5 million for the current fiscal year, according a district report published Jan. 5. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire file photo)
(Chart by Paul E. Peterson and M. Danish Shakeel, Harvard University)

Alaska leads 35 states and D.C. in first-ever rankings of charter performance on NAEP

Harvard researchers’ examination puts performance of Hawaii charters at the bottom

(Chart by Paul E. Peterson and M. Danish Shakeel, Harvard University)
Juneau School District Administrative Services Director Cassee Olin (center) appears with Karen Tarver (right), a partner with the audit firm Elgee Rehfeld, to discuss an audit of the Juneau School District’s previous fiscal year with the Juneau Board of Education on Nov. 14. Olin resigned from the district as of Dec. 1. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)

School district seeks quick temporary help with budget after administrative services director quits

Cassee Olin resigns as district faces multimillion dollar deficit, audit that found flaws.

Juneau School District Administrative Services Director Cassee Olin (center) appears with Karen Tarver (right), a partner with the audit firm Elgee Rehfeld, to discuss an audit of the Juneau School District’s previous fiscal year with the Juneau Board of Education on Nov. 14. Olin resigned from the district as of Dec. 1. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
An empty classroom at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé on July 20, 2022. (Photo by Lisa Phu/Alaska Beacon)

Plan for Alaska’s first tribally operated public schools inches closer to completion

Tlingit and Haida among five tribes slated to be part of the five-year pilot program.

An empty classroom at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé on July 20, 2022. (Photo by Lisa Phu/Alaska Beacon)
Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé volleyball coach Jody Levernier takes a photo of players who are joined by family and friends during Senior Night on Saturday, Oct. 28, at JDHS. On Tuesday the Juneau Board of Education unanimously approved changing the name of the gym to the George Houston Gymnasium, following the death earlier this year of the longtime local coach. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

JDHS gym renamed George Houston Gymnasium to honor longtime former basketball coach

School board’s unanimous vote occurs on night when dozens of title-winning athletes also honored.

Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé volleyball coach Jody Levernier takes a photo of players who are joined by family and friends during Senior Night on Saturday, Oct. 28, at JDHS. On Tuesday the Juneau Board of Education unanimously approved changing the name of the gym to the George Houston Gymnasium, following the death earlier this year of the longtime local coach. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)