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Construction project completions lead to layoffs in Facilities Department

Staffing levels matched to project needs

The Anchorage School District issued notice to seven employees on Friday that their positions will be eliminated, effective November 8. An eighth position slated for elimination will be vacated on Dec. 31 due to a previously-announced retirement. In addition, Director of Facilities, Ray Amsden, announced his retirement, effective before the end of 2010. His position will not be replaced at this time. The current Construction Manager, Mike Price, will serve as Acting Director of Facilities. All nine employees work in the Facilities Department.

Employees in these designated positions work on projects that are funded by either voter-approved school bonds or legislative grants. The eliminated positions are made up of four project managers, two construction managers, one design and planning manager and an administrative assistant.

Staff in the eight positions represent a combined 46 years of experience in the district.

"These are high-quality employees and it is tough to see these people go but we have to match our staffing needs to the amount of work we have," said Mike Abbott, assistant superintendent of Support Services.

No further Facilities Department layoffs are anticipated this school year because the district has enough work and funds remaining for bond- and grant-financed projects through September 2011.

These position eliminations will not reduce General Fund expenditures because they were paid through the Debt Service and Local, State and Federal Projects funds.

"These layoffs are a very sad result of the loss of the bonds in 2009 and the bond holiday in 2010," said Superintendent Carol Comeau. "We are losing some outstanding employees. I hope that if we succeed with future bond elections and with legislative grants, that we can rehire these employees if they are interested in returning to ASD. They have given valued service to our district and to our community."

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