Education

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)
The halls are lined with lockers and portraits of elders at the Anna Tobeluk Memorial School in Nunapitchuk, on Oct. 12. (Photo by Claire Stremple / Alaska Beacon)

Same data, gentler framing: State publishes previously suppressed wage analysis for teachers

An article in the latest issue of the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s magazine outlines the data behind shrinking teacher wages in Alaska.… Continue reading

The halls are lined with lockers and portraits of elders at the Anna Tobeluk Memorial School in Nunapitchuk, on Oct. 12. (Photo by Claire Stremple / Alaska Beacon)
Participants in the Juneau Alaska Music Matters program perform on Alaska Native drums at Sitʼ Eeti Shaanáx̱ Glacier Valley Elementary School. (Photo courtesy of Juneau Alaska Music Matters)

JAMM among 11 finalists for four $500,000 national Accelerator Awards

Winners of fifth annual awards for youth music programs scheduled to be announced in January.

Participants in the Juneau Alaska Music Matters program perform on Alaska Native drums at Sitʼ Eeti Shaanáx̱ Glacier Valley Elementary School. (Photo courtesy of Juneau Alaska Music Matters)
Jennifer Medley (left) practices literacy skills with students at Fireweed Academy on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2023, in Homer, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

From Hope to Homer, how one school district is adjusting to Alaska Reads Act

Implementing the standards outlined by the legislation is not a one-size-fits-all approach

Jennifer Medley (left) practices literacy skills with students at Fireweed Academy on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2023, in Homer, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Newly-sworn Juneau Board of Education members Britteny Cioni-Haywood and David Noon (left) prepare to take their seats as outgoing members Brian Holst and Martin Stepetin Sr. (right) depart during the board’s meeting Tuesday night at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé. At center, Jessica Richmond, administrative assistant to the Juneau School District superintendent, replaces the name signs of the board members at the two seats. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

School district gets $2.8M of bad news due to low enrollment and audit, but also $2.3M of good news

Preliminary audit shows faulty practices; meanwhile, state backs off fight on “over-the-cap” funds.

Newly-sworn Juneau Board of Education members Britteny Cioni-Haywood and David Noon (left) prepare to take their seats as outgoing members Brian Holst and Martin Stepetin Sr. (right) depart during the board’s meeting Tuesday night at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé. At center, Jessica Richmond, administrative assistant to the Juneau School District superintendent, replaces the name signs of the board members at the two seats. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
The offices of the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development in Juneau are seen on Thursday. (Photo by James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska governor’s staff deleted state agency’s analysis of teacher pay

Article would have been on cover of Alaska Economic Trends for October.

The offices of the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development in Juneau are seen on Thursday. (Photo by James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
A children’s playground sits empty in Anchorage. (Photo by Sophia Carlisle/Alaska Beacon)

A ‘playbook’ to help Alaska schools hire and keep teachers

The Alaska Department of Education and Early Development has developed an online tool to help schools, districts, communities and elected officials address the state’s high… Continue reading

A children’s playground sits empty in Anchorage. (Photo by Sophia Carlisle/Alaska Beacon)
Students in the Juneau School District fared better on standardized science tests during the past year than their peers statewide, but the local proficiency score of about 43% was nearly 6% lower than the local scores last year, according to results released last Friday. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire File)

Statewide test scores show Alaska’s students still struggling

About 37% proficient in science statewide; Juneau at 43%, down from 48.6% a year ago.

Students in the Juneau School District fared better on standardized science tests during the past year than their peers statewide, but the local proficiency score of about 43% was nearly 6% lower than the local scores last year, according to results released last Friday. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire File)
Three students hold hands as they walk up the stairs to the entrance of Sayéik: Gastineau Community School for the first day of the 2023-2024 school year in August. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire File)

With fewer students enrolled, Juneau School District officials anticipate $500K loss in funding

Preliminary district enrollment count comes in below projections, likely to create funding gap.

Three students hold hands as they walk up the stairs to the entrance of Sayéik: Gastineau Community School for the first day of the 2023-2024 school year in August. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire File)
Thunder Mountain High School receives a five-year banner marking its successful participation in NOAA’s Ocean Guardian School Program on Wednesday, the first school in the state to reach the milestone. Teacher Kristen Wells, far left, and students Lucy Bennett and Steffanie Reynoso were presented with the banner by Kim Raum-Suryan, who coordinates the Ocean Guardian School Program in Alaska, Anne Marie Eich, assistant regional administrator of NOAA’s Protected Resources Division, and Michelle Trifari, an Alaska Sea Grant Fellow. (Meredith Jordan/ Juneau Empire)

Thunder Mountain High School gets NOAA Ocean Guardian 5-year banner

First school in the state to achieve conservation group milestone.

Thunder Mountain High School receives a five-year banner marking its successful participation in NOAA’s Ocean Guardian School Program on Wednesday, the first school in the state to reach the milestone. Teacher Kristen Wells, far left, and students Lucy Bennett and Steffanie Reynoso were presented with the banner by Kim Raum-Suryan, who coordinates the Ocean Guardian School Program in Alaska, Anne Marie Eich, assistant regional administrator of NOAA’s Protected Resources Division, and Michelle Trifari, an Alaska Sea Grant Fellow. (Meredith Jordan/ Juneau Empire)
Students enter a bus stopped on Douglas Highway Tuesday morning for the first day of the 2023-2024 school year. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

New school year starts for students in Juneau

District welcomes a new superintendent, principals and early release policy for elementary students.

Students enter a bus stopped on Douglas Highway Tuesday morning for the first day of the 2023-2024 school year. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)
New University of Alaska Chancellor Aparna Palmer speaks to the Greater Juneau Chamber of Commerce at a luncheon Thursday afternoon. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)
New University of Alaska Chancellor Aparna Palmer speaks to the Greater Juneau Chamber of Commerce at a luncheon Thursday afternoon. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)
Sealaska Heritage Institute is seen in downtown Juneau on Friday. (Claire Stremple / Alaska Beacon)

Sealaska nonprofit launches program to support Alaska Native teachers

As Alaska grapples with a shortage of teachers and high turnover rates, a regional nonprofit is recruiting Alaska Native educators to a new statewide program… Continue reading

Sealaska Heritage Institute is seen in downtown Juneau on Friday. (Claire Stremple / Alaska Beacon)
Longtime Juneau Board of Education member Brian Holst listens during a board meeting in May. Holst rescinded his run for candidacy for a fourth term on the board late last week. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire File)

Longtime school board member rescinds candidacy

Brian Holst pulls from race days after submitting, set to step away after nine years.

Longtime Juneau Board of Education member Brian Holst listens during a board meeting in May. Holst rescinded his run for candidacy for a fourth term on the board late last week. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire File)
A sculpture of a bear reading a book is seen in front of Auke Bay Elementary School on Wednesday. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Early release for elementary school students on Mondays approved by district

Ending school 30 minutes early intended to help teachers meet requirements of Alaska Reads Act.

A sculpture of a bear reading a book is seen in front of Auke Bay Elementary School on Wednesday. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)