Teaching positions are on the chopping block in Kodiak

Kodiak residents gather for a public forum on the Kodiak Island Borough School District’s financial situation. (Photo courtesy of Gabe Stutman/Kodiak Daily Mirror)

Mitch Borden/KMXT

Over the last few years, the Kodiak Island Borough School District has had to cut about 18 teaching positions to balance its budget. At a public forum focused on the district’s finances, Bob Foy, the President of Kodiak’s Board of Education, pointed out that’s a big deal.

“The bottom line is that’s a pretty substantial cut when you think about a district our size and you just think about all the teachers and think about 18 positions not being there.”

Even though it’s been making a lot of hard decisions, the district expects to have a deficit of around $1.5 million next year. Foy says the only way the district can balance its budget is by asking for an increase in funding from the Kodiak Island Borough.

Foy says even if the borough meets its request, more teachers will still see their jobs disappear next year. The only thing that’s up in the air is how many.

“We’re going to reduce by five more teachers, no matter what. Even if we get the maximum amount we think we need.”

If the district doesn’t get the funds it’s requesting from the borough it’ll have to cut around 14 teaching positions, instead of just five. Foy says these kinds of cuts are painful and will affect the education students receive.

“These aren’t easy decisions. We are down to counting pencils. There’s not slop that’s hidden in different places. We’re down to what really affects kids in the classroom.”

Foy believes the borough needs to adopt a multiyear funding plan to help the district better balance its budget and show that it’s prioritizing education.

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