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Fairbanks Northstar Borough School District cuts $12 million by increasing class size and reducing services

On Wednesday, February 1, 2012, the administration presented the district’s 2012-13 proposed budget to the School Board’s citizen budget review committee. As proposed by the administration, the operating fund budget of $180,114,020 is $854,790 less than the 2011-12 approved budget.

The district is facing a $12 million shortfall from the perspective of a status quo budget. The district’s proposed budget is based on the assumption there will not be an increase in local contribution or the base student allocation (BSA). Included in this budget is a request for local contribution of $47,359,300, the same level as requested in 2011-12.

Local revenues represent 26.8% of the total operating fund revenues. Budgeted state revenue in 2012-13 totals $115,868,640, a decrease of $566,800. Included in the overall funding decrease is a loss of 2011-12 one-time state energy funding in the amount of $2,137,890.

Based on comments from Governor Parnell, the district did not include an increase in the BSA; however, the district will continue to monitor and fight for state legislation (Senate Bill 182 & 171) that would provide additional funding and an increase in the BSA. The proposed budget cuts over $12 million from a maintenance level budget by eliminating 95 positions, reducing district-wide services, and increasing class size to effectively balance expenditures with anticipated funding.

The cuts include non-personnel reductions of $2.1 million and a reduction of administrative, support services and other district-wide personnel by 29 full time equivalent (FTE) positions at $3.5 million.

To balance the budget, the administration also recommends a reduction of 66 instructional personnel at $6.5 million, which includes teachers, principals and other critical positions at the elementary, middle, junior and high school levels.

As a result of the reduction in instructional personnel, the administration is recommending an increase to targeted class sizes also known as pupil teacher ratio (PTR) for grades K-12.

• Kindergarten: increase by 1 – PTR of 23:1

• Grades 1-3: increase by 1.5 – PTR of 25:1

• Grades 4-6: increase by 2 – PTR of 27.5:1

• Grades 7-8: increase by 1.5 – PTR of 26.5:1

• Grades 9-12: increase by 2 – PTR of 28.5:1

Although the budget eliminates 95 positions, it includes the addition of 23.8 special education positions to help provide mandated services. Also added to the budget is the cost of 22 teachers, whose positions were funded last year by one-time grant funds through the federal education Jobs Bill.

Other significant increases include $1.6 million in curriculum material, standard negotiated salary and benefit increases, energy, and other contractual increases. See more details and a complete list of personnel reductions online at www.k12northstar.org/proposed2012-13.

For more information contact: Mike Fisher, Chief Financial Officer at 452.2000 x302

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