Dillingham Education Association hosts community meeting to discuss school budget

Apr 14, 2017

Educators, parents and community members gathered to discuss the Dillingham City School District's proposed budget at a meeting this week hosted by the DEA.

Credit Dillingham Education Association

The Dillingham City School District has not yet passed its $9.2 million budget. On Tuesday, about 30 turned out for a community meeting on the budget hosted by the Dillingham Education Association. Those in attendance included district employees, school board members, parents, and interested community members.

The school district could decide not to fill the positions of some teachers who choose to leave at the end of the year. Discussion about the impact of that possible reduction dominated the discussion.

“One fewer teacher at the middle high school could mean fewer offerings, but it could also meant that prep goes away completely,” says Andria Budbill, an english teacher at Dillingham High School. “Teachers could make those offerings happen, but then there’s no prep time.”

The proposed budget includes the addition of a part-time assistant superintendent, which raised also concerns. Middle school science teacher Laurel Sands is worried that such an addition could lead to deeper cuts in teaching staff if the state cuts education funding more than expected.

“That’s what my fear is,” says Sands. “If the board decides they want this assistant superintendent, if it’s hired first, then we’ve lost teachers if we lose money from the state. So there needs to be some sort of set priority… because Juneau’s not done yet.”

Concerns about the assistant superintendent position were also raised at the school board meeting at the end of March. There board president Chris Napoli explained that the school board proposed the idea to mitigate the cost of a hiring search for a superintendent in the future.

“What we’re looking at is a transition with our superintendent. That’s why it’s a .49 position. We’re looking at bringing somebody in and having some mentoring. We’re not looking at expansion. We’re looking at a mentoring program. Hopefully, we’ll have someone who might be able to take over as the superintendent without spending a lot of money in a hiring search.”

The budget will next be before the school board on Monday.

Contact the author at avery@kdlg.org or 907-842-2200.