Anchorage schools face deep cuts

Posted: Thursday, May 04, 2000

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- School superintendent Bob Christal has proposed dropping three high school sports, scrapping most achievement tests and eliminating about 70 teacher positions as part of $12 million in cuts to next year's spending plan.

Two-hundred-forty-one jobs would be lost altogether, including 126 part-time aide positions in all-day kindergarten classes.

''I've spent the last two weeks agonizing over this,'' Christal said.

The School Board is scheduled to consider his recommendations at 5 p.m. Wednesday. The cuts would take effect July 1.

The $12 million includes an $8 million reduction ordered by the Anchorage Assembly, $3 million in unplanned expenses for the proposed teacher contract that the district agreed to last weekend, and another $1 million in lost state revenue.

The overall school budget is $410.5 million.

The administration chose to cut hockey, gymnastics and swimming because none of the sports will be taught in schools, and each has strong competitive programs operating independently of the school system, Christal said.

Hockey is one of the three biggest high school sports, along with basketball and football.

Christal recommended eliminating teacher positions mostly by increasing class sizes in elementary, middle and high schools by one student per class.

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