Schools

Many Juneau School District employees will be in new places during the coming school year due to a consolidation plan that will result on one high school and one middle school instead of two of each. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire file photo)

Juneau’s principals, vice principals get new assignments under school district’s consolidation plan

The principal of the one middle school won’t be the just-named Southeast principal of the year.

 

Dzantik’i Heeni Middle School Principal Molly Yerkes has been named AASSP Region 5 Principal of The Year for 2024, the second time she has won the award since 2020. (Courtesy photo)

Neighbors: DZ Principal Molly Yerkes named regional principal of the year for second time since 2020

Middle school’s principal for past 14 years also recipient of national Millikan award in 2013.

 

Rep. Bryce Edgmon, I-Dillingham, before presenting his bill that would increase internet speeds for rural Alaska schools to the Senate Finance Committee on Monday. (Claire Stremple/Alaska Beacon)

Lawmakers approve faster internet speeds for Alaska’s rural school districts

The approval comes just days before a deadline to access federal grants

 

An empty classroom at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé in Juneau, Alaska, on July 20, 2022. (Photo by Lisa Phu/Alaska Beacon)

Time is running out for legislators to increase internet speeds for Alaska’s rural schools

One week remains until the deadline for federal grants that would make equitable speeds affordable.

An empty classroom at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé in Juneau, Alaska, on July 20, 2022. (Photo by Lisa Phu/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska Department of Education and Early Development Commissioner Deena Bishop and Gov. Mike Dunleavy discuss his veto of an education bill during a press conference Friday at the Alaska State Capitol. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Alaska Department of Education and Early Development Commissioner Deena Bishop and Gov. Mike Dunleavy discuss his veto of an education bill during a press conference Friday at the Alaska State Capitol. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire
Juneau Board of Education President Deedie Sorensen (left) and Vice President Emil Mackey, holding his son Emil Mackey IV, listen to discussion about next year’s budget for the school district during a meeting Thursday night at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé.

School board passes budget that cuts staff 12%, hopes for BSA increase that will save some jobs

Board members make wish list if state funding increases, as governor vetoes bill providing funds.

Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire
Juneau Board of Education President Deedie Sorensen (left) and Vice President Emil Mackey, holding his son Emil Mackey IV, listen to discussion about next year’s budget for the school district during a meeting Thursday night at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé.
The Juneau Board of Education debates a school district consolidation plan after midnight Wednesday, near the end of an eight-hour meeting at the Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé auditorium. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

School board sticks with consolidation plan for one high school after eight-hour debate of two-school alternative

Claims of plan for two grade 8-12 schools based on faulty and incomplete data, district leaders say.

The Juneau Board of Education debates a school district consolidation plan after midnight Wednesday, near the end of an eight-hour meeting at the Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé auditorium. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Amber Frommherz, a member of the Juneau Board of Education, expresses concerns about next year’s proposed budget during a special meeting Thursday night at Thunder Mountain High School. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

School board votes 4-3 to reconsider consolidation plan merging high and middle schools

Motion allows amending plan next week, despite concern by some officials budget is also due then.

Amber Frommherz, a member of the Juneau Board of Education, expresses concerns about next year’s proposed budget during a special meeting Thursday night at Thunder Mountain High School. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Juneau School District administrators and school board members discuss the district’s proposed budget for next year during a special meeting Thursday at Thunder Mountain High School. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Juneau School District administrators and school board members discuss the district’s proposed budget for next year during a special meeting Thursday at Thunder Mountain High School. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Proposed school district budget for next year cuts 12% of employees, increases class sizes

Pupil-teacher ratio of 30 — or 4 to 5 extra kids per class — proposed for all grades except K-3.

Juneau School District administrators and school board members discuss the district’s proposed budget for next year during a special meeting Thursday at Thunder Mountain High School. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Juneau School District administrators and school board members discuss the district’s proposed budget for next year during a special meeting Thursday at Thunder Mountain High School. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
The Alaska House Education Committee is seen on Monday, March 20, 2023. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

Disagreements between Alaska House Republicans stalled education work for three weeks

House Education Committee hasn’t met since Feb. 14, denying Dunleavy channel of support for his ideas

The Alaska House Education Committee is seen on Monday, March 20, 2023. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
A sign objecting to the Juneau School District’s consolidation plan is displayed by an audience member during a Juneau Assembly meeting Monday night as members consider a $9.7 million bailout package to help solve the district’s financial crisis. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Assembly approves $9.7M bailout package for school district

Superintendent says some layoffs, other cuts can be reversed if increase in state funding occurs

A sign objecting to the Juneau School District’s consolidation plan is displayed by an audience member during a Juneau Assembly meeting Monday night as members consider a $9.7 million bailout package to help solve the district’s financial crisis. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Students, parents and teachers rally outside Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé prior to a school board meeting Tuesday, seeking a change in the board’s decision to consolidate Juneau’s two high schools beginning with the next school year. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Layoffs and larger classes planned along with consolidation at local schools, but BSA increase would help

District leaders not counting on funds approved by Legislature, due to veto threat by governor.

Students, parents and teachers rally outside Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé prior to a school board meeting Tuesday, seeking a change in the board’s decision to consolidate Juneau’s two high schools beginning with the next school year. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
State senators meet with members of the media at the Alaska State Capitol to discuss education legislation after a press conference by Gov. Mike Dunleavy on the topic on Tuesday. (Mark Sabbatini/Juneau Empire)

Dunleavy threatens veto of education bill if more of his priorities aren’t added

It is not certain there would be the 40 votes necessary to override a veto by the governor

State senators meet with members of the media at the Alaska State Capitol to discuss education legislation after a press conference by Gov. Mike Dunleavy on the topic on Tuesday. (Mark Sabbatini/Juneau Empire)
Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire
Nanibaa’ Frommherz, a student at Thunder Mountain High School, testifies about a proposal to help the Juneau School District with its financial crisis during a Juneau Assembly Committee of the Whole meeting Monday night at City Hall. The meeting was moved from the Assembly Chambers to a conference room toward the end due to technical errors that disrupted the live online feed.

Little public reaction to city’s bailout of school district this year, but big questions beyond loom

Only two people testify Monday about proposed $4.1M loan and taking over $3.9 in “shared costs.”

Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire
Nanibaa’ Frommherz, a student at Thunder Mountain High School, testifies about a proposal to help the Juneau School District with its financial crisis during a Juneau Assembly Committee of the Whole meeting Monday night at City Hall. The meeting was moved from the Assembly Chambers to a conference room toward the end due to technical errors that disrupted the live online feed.
Sen. Shelley Hughes, R-Palmer, speaks in support of Senate concurrence on a version of an education bill passed by the Alaska House last week during a Senate floor discussion on Monday. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Senate concurs on House education bill, Dunleavy is skeptical

Dunleavy schedules press conference Tuesday afternoon in Anchorage to discuss the legislation.

Sen. Shelley Hughes, R-Palmer, speaks in support of Senate concurrence on a version of an education bill passed by the Alaska House last week during a Senate floor discussion on Monday. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Juneau Mayor Beth Weldon (right) discusses the Juneau School District’s financial crisis with school board Vice President Emil Mackey (right) and City Attorney Robert Palmer during a meeting Thursday night at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Meetings to comment on Assembly’s proposed $9.6M of help to school district scheduled next two Mondays

Plan includes $4.1 million no-interest loan, picking up “shared costs” this year and next.

Juneau Mayor Beth Weldon (right) discusses the Juneau School District’s financial crisis with school board Vice President Emil Mackey (right) and City Attorney Robert Palmer during a meeting Thursday night at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
A crowd overflows the library at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé on Thursday night as school board members meet to select a consolidation option to help resolve the Juneau School District’s budget crisis. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

School district leaders approve putting grades 9-12 at JDHS, 7-8 and HomeBRIDGE at TMHS

Elementary schools will be K-6; Marie Drake, Floyd Dryden to close this fall if plan gets final OK.

A crowd overflows the library at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé on Thursday night as school board members meet to select a consolidation option to help resolve the Juneau School District’s budget crisis. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé students hold up signs during a rally along Egan Drive on Tuesday afternoon protesting a proposal to consolidate all local students in grades 10-12 at Thunder Mountain High School to help deal with the Juneau School District’s financial crisis. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

JDHS students, teachers rally to keep grades 9-12 at downtown school if consolidation occurs

District’s proposed move to TMHS would result in loss of vocational facilities, ninth-grade students.

Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé students hold up signs during a rally along Egan Drive on Tuesday afternoon protesting a proposal to consolidate all local students in grades 10-12 at Thunder Mountain High School to help deal with the Juneau School District’s financial crisis. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
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.

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)
Lauren Stichert, a senior at Thunder Mountain High School, testifies before the Juneau Board of Education during a meeting about the school district’s budget crisis Tuesday night at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

District leaders focus on least, most dramatic school consolidation options to cope with budget crisis

All proposals consolidate both middle schools into one, leave sizable remaining deficit.

Lauren Stichert, a senior at Thunder Mountain High School, testifies before the Juneau Board of Education during a meeting about the school district’s budget crisis Tuesday night at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)