March Parent & Community Letter (3/6/19)

March 6, 2019 

Dear CCSD Families and Community Members:

The school year keeps rolling along and it is difficult to believe we are already in the month of March. This time of year is always a special time because our students are presented with an abundance of opportunities to highlight their learning and to expand their educational horizons.    

During the end of February, CCSD students had the privilege of engaging in the statewide Academic Decathlon and Battle of the Book competitions.  Our CES 3rd and 4th grade Battle of the Books team placed 5th in the state, and CHS Academic Decathlon teams performed exceptionally well.  CHS Team #1  finished first in the small school division and CHS Team #2 finished second in the small schools division.  CHS girls and boys basketball teams are traveling to Sitka for the Region-V 2A basketball tournament with support from our high school cheerleaders and drum line.  CCSD couldn’t be prouder of our students’ academic and athletic accomplishments they have displayed throughout the 2018-19 school year.

March is also a busy month for our PACE program as it prepares for our spring and summer advertising and enrollment campaigns. CCSD is recognized statewide as an innovative district and we are excited to continue learning how we can maximize social media platforms to advertise our services to prospective families and students.   PACE is developing enrollment and adverting campaigns targeting the Facebook platform.  Our intent is to provide prospective families more focused content to help them choose the most appropriate educational program and meet their student’s needs.  This is new territory for CCSD and we are eager to learn from these steps to improve how we share our message to families statewide.

Lastly, CCSD is in the process of developing our FY 20 budget for the 2019-20 school year.  CCSD has been fortunate that we have budgeted conservatively in the past, which has allowed us to have monies available for capital projects and other needs to support our instructional programs.  Given the current FY 20 budget discussions in Juneau, it strongly appears that CCSD will have less flexibility with monies as we plan for the future.  Recent multi-year “flat funding” from the state and inflationary costs are proving to be costly, especially when coupled with the proposed funding reductions outlined in Governor Dunleavy’s FY 20 state budget.   Attached to this letter, for your review, is a letter that was shared with each member of the House and Senate Education and Finance Committees as well as Representative Kreiss-Tomkins. We will need to prepare for tighter budgets in the coming years and be open to discussions on how best CCSD can maximize the funding available to meet the learning needs of each of our students. 

In closing, thank you for sharing your child(ren) with CCSD.  What a privilege it is to be able to work with students from across our state and help them shape our future.  Please contact me at the phone number above or the email address below if there is any additional information that I can share about any of the items noted in this letter. 

Sincerely, 

Chris Reitan, CCSD Superintendent                                                                      

Email: creitan@craigschools.com 

February 27, 2019 

Re: FY 20 State Education Funding

Dear Representative Kreiss-Tomkins: 

I’m writing to you in response to Governor Dunleavy’s FY 20 budget proposal.  As you are well aware, the students in our public school systems that we are privileged to serve come to us from diverse backgrounds, with unique learning needs.  Our districts have developed unique programs in partnership with our families to best meet the individual learning needs of each and every one of our students; providing them with viable options upon graduation from high school.  We know that Alaska’s economic future depends on it. 

The FY 20 budget moved forward by Governor Dunleavy completely erodes our state school systems’ ability to meet, even at a very basic level, an appropriate educational opportunity for our students.  As it currently stands, Craig City School District would experience an approximate reduction of $1,025,088 in state entitlement funding for FY 20; CCSD’s current projected state entitlement for FY 20 is $4,568,844.  This represents a reduction of nearly 20%; which is both unprecedented and unacceptable.  

Ultimately, CCSD doesn’t have the ability to cut that much out of our FY 20 budget and still provide a semblance of an appropriate educational experience for our students that will provide them viable options upon graduation supporting the growth of our state.  The adequate funding of public education is a Constitutional duty.  The FY 20 state budget proposed by Governor Dunleavy eliminates the ability of CCSD and other school districts in the state of Alaska to meet this obligation.  In addition, it irresponsibly ties our state budget to a single industry known for pricing volatility--without any consideration for additional revenues or developing a stable, forward thinking budget development process.

CCSD respectfully requests the 31st Legislature develop a FY 20 budget that provides school districts across the state some sense of stability and predictability for our budget development responsibilities.  We also request a FY 20 budget that provides school districts across the state the ability to meet our Constitutional responsibility for providing all children an appropriate education that provides viable options for students upon graduation.

 

Respectfully Submitted,

Chris Reitan, CCSD Superintendent

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