By DAVID BOYLE
In a recent school board meeting, Anchorage School Board member Dave Donley offered six amendments to the preliminary financial plan (budget) for the next school year. All six amendments were shot down by the remaining six board members even though none of these amendments reduced funding to the classroom.
These amendments reduced funding to special interest groups that the taxpayers pay for. The total funding to these groups was about $75,000.
In the first amendment Donley wanted to reduce funding to the Alaska Association of School Boards by $30,000 because it did not fairly represent Anchorage. The AASB also supports student surveys regarding sexual activity, which many Anchorage parents oppose.
Board member Andy Holleman said, “It would be a sad thing if Anchorage withdrew membership (from the AASB).” He did not explain the “sadness” nor did anyone else.
The next amendment by Donley was to cut the dues to the Coalition for Education Equity (formerly CEEAC). This would save the ASD $32,000. He stated that the CEE only supports the rural districts with lawsuits. None of the other five large school districts (Juneau, Kenai, Fairbanks, MatSu) support this organization. And this organization supports positions not favored by Anchorage voters.
The next amendment was to delete funding for the Council of Great City Schools, a group that receives $44,000 from the ASD. It represents the larger urban school districts, but Anchorage no longer meets that criterion due to loss of students. The CGCS also advocates extreme firearm restrictions, according to Donley. Thus, it is not a good fit for Alaska.
Donley then offered an amendment to discontinue the extra planning period for teachers in the middle school model, which was adopted in the early 2000s. This would save $2.93 million by eliminating 24 middle school positions. Member Holleman said it would take awhile to implement so he opposed the savings.
President Bellamy then tried to ramrod through the final vote on the budget by saying that the board had discussed all these items at its work session. Then the discussion got rather heated when Donley asked for a “Point of Order.”
Donley said, “You (Bellamy) just implied that a thumbs up or thumbs down of an informal poll at a work session was controlling over our vote tonight. You just said we already have a deal here. That’s completely wrong. You can’t bind us by a work session.”
President Bellamy responded, “I am entitled to my opinion. And you may not like it.”
Donley responded, “We are using $65 million in one-time funds to balance this $960 million budget and we need to chip away as much as possible.”
The sixth amendment offered by Donley was to reduce administrative cost not directly related to the classrooms by 5%. This would save $2 million. But there was no second to his motion so there was no discussion—a convenient way to hide from the public.
The final amendment presented by member Donley was to remove the $8,600 dues to the National School Boards Association. He did not believe that the ASD should support an organization that referred to parents as “domestic terrorists” as it did in its Sept. 29, 2021 letter to the White House.
Already 26 states have left the NSBA because of the “domestic terrorist” letter.
Member Pat Higgins defended the NSBA because it apologized for the letter. He did not defend the original letter that called parents “domestic terrorists.”
Member Andy Holleman said that the NSBA did not call parents domestic terrorists. He said it was a red herring to say so. He may want to apologize to the public at the next meeting for putting misinformation into the record.
Here is the portion (paragraph 2) of the NSBA letter to the White House referring to parents at school board meetings as domestic terrorists:
There is a resolution buried in the board’s governance committee concerning the NSBA’s letter condemning parents as domestic terrorists, but it has not been brought forward to the board. Thus, there is no public discussion and members have been protected from taking a position.
Note that all the above organizations are essentially lobbying groups that go to the Alaska Legislature to ask for more funding for public schools. The ASD also pays its own lobbyist $50,000 to go to Juneau to seek more money from the State.
The preliminary financial plan(budget) for next school year passed by a vote of 6 to 1 with only member Donley voting “no” due to his concerns regarding one-time funding and the pupil-to-teacher ratio.
The Anchorage School Board is putting its efforts into getting more money from the Legislature this session and the majority six of the ASD Board can keep kicking the can down the road and not do the hard work of trimming the budget, despite the continual loss of students from its schools.
David Boyle is Must Read Alaska’s education writer.
Good reporting. Ty.
Is it becoming painfully obvious it is to vote as well as it is to get everyone to vote?
There’s only one way to change this sort of behavior without getting in BIG trouble.
I cannot imagine the frustration of being the only guy attempting to perform as a public elected official dealing with a bunch of people with no skills to separate truth from feelings.
Every parent owes their children the best education possible so they can go into this world with as much knowledge as possible. The ASD record proves that they have not any clue and cannot teach. So they put their effort towards pay raises sex ed and more administration to better spend the budget foolishly. I can only hope someday the right politician will gut the ASD and their leftist teachings which look to really make for the worst school district in the US. Parents get your kids out of ASD before it is too late. Your responsible for their future.
It’s getting hard to care. Anchorage does this to themselves every chance they can.
They vote in the same morons then complain about the morons they vote in.
Bad education, rampant overreach, fiscal irresponsibility, and stupid kids getting stupider each year.
I think you mistake election results with the will of the people. The elections have been cooked for some time now, at least in Anchorage. How many people signed the petition to get rid of Felix compared to how many voted to do so? Makes no sense, whatsoever. You can keep playing your broken record about how awful we vote, but it doesn’t align with the facts.
Denial. Not just a river in Egypt.
In the real world, and the political, voting results ARE the reflection of the will of the people.
You can cry stolen elections, dominion voting, 2000 mules until you are full up on righteous indignation and it means a flat zero on the political scoreboard.
Facts are stubborn things. These facts especially so:
-Anchorage hasn’t had a regular voter turnout of over 50 % (meaning a whole half of the population) in longer than I can remember.
-wasn’t too long ago Anchorage was impressed with itself for having an 18% turnout.
-the ballots come to your (collective) houses and Anchorage still can’t be bothered.
-Anchorage has gone blue. Not deep blue yet, but getting there.
-why is Anchorage blue? They bother to vote. Red complains, whines, and does nothing.
-who works harder to get out the vote? Blue.
I could go on and on at profound length, but why bother? You are so wrapped up in your personal justifications you are actively ignoring facts. I can point out reality but can’t make you accept it. You clearly prefer the myth of Anchorage than its reality.
Bluntly put: honey, elections are the best arbiter of the will of the people out there. If you insist on denying common sense, you will continue to reap the future you deserve.
Reality. Clearly not for everyone.
I keep waiting for the stolen election crowd to come up with tangible proof and bother to press it in court.
Yet it almost never happens? Why? Because election fraud on that level rarely happens.
SO the Anchorage School Board can’t be bothered to reduce the buget by less than 0.53% IF they adopted all of Dave’s proposals? And they want MORE money from the Juneau legislators. I can’t be bothered to approve any school propositions to approve bonding (i.e. loans you and I pay for via property taxes) of 37 million dollars.
Approaching a ONE BILLION DOLLAR Anchorage School District budget is out of control! Add any $$$ from Juneau and IF the voters agree to 37 more MILLION dollars, we just might see a BILLION dollar budget this year. Is anyone else dumbfounded by these numbers?
President Bellamy “I am entitled to my opinion and you may not like it”??? If it wasnt for the highly compensated Mafia run teachers union she wouldnt even be on the board. What a pathetic bunch of losers! A billion dollar a year budget and performance testing is at the bottom of the barrel. 50 Grand going to a lobbyist to con more taxpayer dollars from the state? VOTE NO on all bonding propositions!!! I cant decide which body of rulers is worse, Muni Assembly or ASD board of Derelicts
Good luck oil.
Remove the dirty books from innocent children’s libraries and just maybe the roofs won’t fall in. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$. There is a living God whether you like it or not.
If God is so invested in ASD, why hasn’t he gone Sodom and Gomorrah on them?
Answer is simple. God gave us the power and agency to handle issues ourselves.
You’ve heard this, but it merits retelling.
A flood was occurring. A man stood on the stoop of his house. A second man in a rowboat come by. Offers the first a ride. The first declines saving God will save him.
The flood continues. Man is now at his second story window to escape the water. A man in a speedboat come up to the first man and offers him rescue. The first declines, saying God will save him.
The floor continues. Man is now in waste deep water on the roof of his house. A rescue helicopter comes by and throws him a rope. The first declines, saying God will save him.
The man drowns.
Reaching heaven, he demands an audience with God. The man is morally outraged. “I prayed to you. You were supposed to save me!”
God takes a deep breath and looks at the man. “I sent you a rowboat, a speedboat, and a helicopter. What else did you want?”
Moral of this lesson? Instead of implying God collapses roofs to get His way, get off your backside and actually work to do His will.
Every single time I hear someone invoke god I roll my eyes. Keep god out of schools and politics period. The second you bring it up you’ve lost. You divide the different groups of Christians against each other, Mormons here, Baptists there, “Evangelicals” which isn’t a faith its a buzzword against Budists, Hidus, Jews, Agnostics and so on.
Stick to the facts, stick to the laws…Go after the fact that adult reading materials are age restricted in the world and etc…Appealing to a higher power than these people don’t believe it wont work. The morale majority are also acting like kids dont have cell phones full of sexting and beaver shots by the 3rd grade now.
You know how you really combat this if you are a parent ? MORALS, RULES, CONSEQUENCES and CONSISTENCY..But parents don’t want to do that now because it takes time out of their lives and people want to breed kids but not parent them. That comment goes across all political spectrums. Ask yourself when was the last time you heard of a child ACTUALLY being grounded with no TV or computer for 2 weeks or a month ? or had their xbox of snowmobile taken away ?
Love fairy tales thanks. You covered god do you have any about the Easter bunny or Santa?
This is a very poorly run city.
It is so poorly run that I for one believe one half the state of Alaska had its guaranteed republic revoked by the Anchorage Assembly members Deering Covid. WE don’t have our republic form of government back yet either.
I’ve said it before look at the make up of the board Margo Bellamy, former EEO Czar and Hypocrit retired then went back to the ASD trough, Andy Holleman, worked as a teacher, then union president, then in a stunning move simultaneously sold out his fellow teachers, organized labor, and the kids by going to the board. I mean is there a group he wont sell out at the drop of a hat to posture his political sphere an inch ? Oh and lets not forget Pat Higgings, who we for a while referred to as “Charlie’s Angle” because he never made a school board meeting because he was working in the south pacific for a contractor for what seem like forever. BUT voters in Anchorage (all 9-11% that show up) keep ticking the boxes for these clowns.
ASD had a chance to lower overhead, reduce schools and costs, and make real steps to improve things and potentially modernized what Anchorage schools look like what did they do ? NOTHING but expand programs under a superintendent who didn’t even meet the qualifications under state law to be a superintendent. The board selected a soft willed child who wanted to be likeable and is WOKE so they could control him and thats what they got, so it’s an open check book on the backs of Anchorage AND Alaska wallets because Dr Bishop who is the Gov’s special princess of education will make sure to feed the beast that fed her…You just watch. I hope I’m wrong but I’m not
Have to break the school board members into districts like all other voting and maybe, just maybe it would change. The real problem is apathy in voter participation. You want change? Get off your duff and vote damn it!
Dave Donley’s IQ is still higher than the combined IQ of the remaining 6 Board members.
That may be. But they outvote him 6-1 on almost every issue.
It’s a common and often fatal mistake to assume progressives are not that bright. Most actually are.
Consider how they got a senile old man elected President.
Don’t underestimate your enemy because you don’t like them.
They got the demented one slipped into office because Democrats cheated big time in Milwaukee, Detroit, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Las Vegas, and Phoenix. Those six cities, run by Democrats, gave Brandon all the electoral votes he needed.
Leftists are very good at spending other people’s money.
If only Anchorage required every homeowner to write a check for the School District twice a year, and not allow your mortgage bank to pay in in escrows. I wonder if people would start paying attention then?
Thanks Dave Donley, at least you point out how useless this bunch is.
They are SO terrible.
I’m so glad my son is a sophomore only 2 more years of the school district’s pathetic leftists agenda
Anchorage, Alaska has the most corrupt self serving parasites in the state running it. ASD definitely needs a forensic audit to expose these lying theives. I am so tired of being financially raped by our corrupt government.
Please, just give us three more Dave Donley’s.
Is the $960M budget the school district, Anchorage city, or the state of Alaska? Thanks