BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE…
Anchorage School District is a dues-paying member of the Association of Alaska School Boards. It should get a gold-plated certificate, considering how much it pays for its membership.
The school district also pays dues to the National School Board Association, which recently was caught collaborating with the White House to start treating parents as terrorists and have protesting parents investigated by the FBI.
The cost of belonging to these two organizations has been growing over the past decade in a state where the average annual education spend per pupil is nearly $18,000, more than 46 percent higher than the national average of about $12,200.
The dues Anchorage pays to the Association of Alaska School Boards has been exploding: It went from $1,954 in 2011 to $146,599 in 2021, a growth of more than 7,400 percent.
Payments to the National School Board Association have seesawed, according to the chart below, which has information obtained through a public records request. In the chart, it appears the small 2021 payment of $225 is simply because the payment has not yet been sent, received, or recorded.
The average cost of dues to these two school board associations is over $71,000 per year over the past 10 years, even as the number of students has dropped from about 50,000 to just under 43,000.
In fact, over the past five years, when student numbers have fallen fast, the Anchorage School District has paid the Association of Alaska School Boards an average of more than $95,000 per year.
In 2017, the AASB collected $547,541 as dues from public sources, and the AASB also received $598,107 in government grants that same year, according to the Alaska Policy Forum, which conducted a survey of these costs.
In terms of being represented on the association, Anchorage in a minority position compared to the other districts that are members. Anchorage School District may be the biggest, but has just five voting positions in the Association, which has 51 member districts in Alaska.
AASB is not without controversy. Last week, the AASB met in Anchorage to discuss incorporating the concept of “systemic racism” into its overall goals and objectives for the organization. And it booted out a citizen who was trying to film the proceedings, which inform school board policies across the state.
The Anchorage School District also belongs to the Council of Great City Schools, which is targeted toward the largest school districts in the country, and which pushes a radical leftist agenda, including Critical Race Theory, the theory that whites are inherently racist.
The dues Anchorage taxpayers pay for membership in CGCS are more than $40,000. See their dues sheet at this link.
But wait, there’s more: The Anchorage School District belongs to a group called the Coalition for Alaska Education Equity, for which there is a fee of more than $27,000 a year. In 2016, the group collected $160,571 in dues.
According to the Alaska Policy Forum, CEE collected $145,000 in membership dues, and an additional $171,982 in government grants. It’s main purpose is to sue the State of Alaska to get more money for rural school districts.
“Under the CEAAC banner, the organization focused on the perception of school inadequacies in rural Alaska by filing lawsuits asserting inequitable state funding, with two lawsuits being settled in CEAAC’s favor after years of legal wrangling,” the Alaska Policy Forum wrote.
“Despite a significant funding advantage over other states, Alaska has continued to produce very disappointing results in national standardized testing. Scores from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) between 2003 and 2019 showed that Alaska’s combined math and reading standings sank more than any other state—ranking 49th or lower in six of eight categories by 2019,” APF wrote.
School Board member Dave Donley has in the past attempted to have the district end its membership in the Coalition for Education Equity because the Anchorage School Board is paying far too much for the value received. But it has since been added back to the budget.
Although the Coalition for Alaska Education Equity is a fringe group, the National School Board Association is a heavyweight and most Americans might see it as mainstream. And yet, after its recent missteps in trying to characterize parents as terrorists, nine state school board associations have pulled out of that national advocacy group.
According to Fox News, newly released internal emails reveal that the National School Boards Association actually coordinated with the White House and the Department of Justice before sending President Biden the “notorious letter that compared concerned parents to domestic terrorists. Emails provided to Fox News show that NSBA had coordinated with the White House for weeks beforehand,” Fox wrote.
“Viola Garcia, the NSBA president whom the Department of Education later named to a federal board, sent a memo to NSBA members on Oct. 11 (but dated Oct. 12), providing a timeline of the NSBA’s interaction with the White House ahead of the letter to Biden, which the NSBA sent on Sept. 29,” the story continues.
“Five days later, on Oct. 4, the DOJ issued a memo directing law enforcement to investigate threats to school boards. On Oct. 22, the NSBA issued an apology for the letter,” the News group wrote.
Board member Donley has asked the Anchorage School Board to censure the National School Board Association for its actions to cause the FBI to investigate protesting parents. His resolution was referred to the Governance Committee and it has not been seen since by the left-dominated Anchorage School Board.