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UCSD Braces For Staff Changes And State Budget Cuts

Annie Ropeik/KUCB

When school lets out next month, Unalaska students will say goodbye to a handful of longtime teachers and administrators.

Superintendent John Conwell announced Thursday that Eric and Mandy Andersen are the latest staff members to resign from the Unalaska City School District.

He thanked the Andersens for their work at Eagle’s View Elementary Achigaalux, where Eric serves as the principal and Mandy serves as a first grade teacher.

“They’re leaving us after many, many years of dedicated service, having touched the lives of many children, and we are going to miss them dearly,” said Conwell.

The Andersens are bound for Anchorage, where Eric has accepted a job as principal of a charter school.

Their departure means that seven educators are leaving Unalaska this year. Conwell said the district has already filled six of those vacancies.

Meanwhile, the school board is waiting on state lawmakers to finalize public education funding for next year.

Board members have already approved a $7.1 million budget. They hope the state will contribute about half of that money, but President Tammy Fowler Pound said nothing is certain yet.

“This is the first year we’ve had no assumptions as to what the Legislature is going to do," she said. "So we just went with the status quo, which gave us a deficit, and we planned on dealing with anything additional after.”

If state funding remains flat, the school board will cover the $269,000 deficit by pulling from the district’s fund balance. If not, board members will have to make budget cuts or dip into savings even further. The City of Unalaska has already made the maximum contribution allowed by state law. 

Legislators have blown past the deadline for their session, so a final decision should come soon. But Fowler Pound told the school board she’s not holding her breath for good news, especially after a recent trip to Juneau.

“I think it was the least optimistic I’ve ever felt, being at the capital," she said.

Board members will continue discussing the budget at their next meeting May 25.

Laura Kraegel reported for KUCB from 2016 until 2020. She was KUCB's news director starting in 2019.
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