Delta schools are facing deep enrollment and budget cuts

Posted: Sunday, February 27, 2000

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- Schools at Delta Junction are facing deep budget cuts, and sooner than expected. That follows the downsizing of nearby Fort Greely.

Superintendent Dan Beck is trying to cut $1.2 million from the district's $6.3 million budget.

Beck is proposing laying off 13 of the district's 61 teachers and at least five of the 30-member support staff. The district also is planning to close the Fort Greely school in 2001 and may have to close the Healy and Lake village school as well. Student sports programs also are threatened.

Fort Greely has been a major force in the area economy, but it was targeted by the Pentagon for a downsizing in July of 2001 as part of a cost-cutting move.

Beck says the Delta School District has seen about a 90 percent drop in military students since the downsizing announcement. The district counted 749 students last fall. The projection is for 615 students next year.

Reduced enrollments mean less money for the district, which gets nearly all of its funding from the state.

And while the school board had warned that enrollment dips would come, they have come faster and have been more severe than anticipated, said school board president Doris Fales.

''I think back to when we worried about some things that seem like minute problems compared to what we are facing now,'' Fales said.

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