January Family & Community Letter (1/17/2022)

January 17, 2022

Dear CCSD Families and Community Members:

Today marks the first day of the second semester of the 2021-2022 school year. This time of year is always critical for school districts across the state as the Alaska legislature prepares to gavel back into session and begin deliberations on the development of the FY 23 state operating and capital budgets. CCSD will be paying close attention to this process during the spring legislative session that is set to begin on Tuesday, January 18, 2022.

The legislature’s deliberations on funding levels for the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development’s (DEED) Major Maintenance grant fund will be of critical interest for CCSD. On September 1, 2021 CCSD submitted two major maintenance grant applications to the DEED Major Maintenance grant fund. CCSD’s Craig Middle School Rehabilitation project is ranked #2 out of 97 grant applications; CCSD’s Craig Elementary School Rehabilitation project is ranked #5 out of 97 grant applications. For our projects to be funded the legislature would need to appropriate a minimum of $19,915,623 to DEED’s Major Maintenance Grant Fund which would cover the costs for the top five projects. To support our advocacy efforts, CCSD has partnered with Kake City School District, Denali Borough School District, and Galena City School District to collaboratively advocate for legislative attention to DEED’s Major Maintenance Grant Fund during the upcoming legislative session. CCSD, in collaboration with our partner districts, will pay close attention as the FY 23 capital budget is developed. As more information becomes available during the legislative session about this potential funding source, I will share this information with our stakeholders immediately.

Furthermore, CCSD applied for additional funding for the CHS biomass project through the Southeast Alaska Sustainability Strategy funding source. The Southeast Alaska Sustainability Strategy has $25 million allocated for projects dedicated to supporting a diverse economy, enhancing community resilience, and conserving natural resources in Southeast Alaska. Last week CCSD received notification that the CHS biomass project was included in the Southeast Alaska Sustainability Strategy investment portfolio. The next step is for a program manager to be assigned to the CHS biomass project. The program manager will work with CCSD to develop agreements in order for the money to be available by September 30, 2022 (the end of the federal fiscal calendar). As these agreements are finalized and the exact amount of funding is determined, I will share this information with our stakeholders immediately as well.

CCSD is optimistic about the potential of additional investments in our school buildings in the near future. Ultimately, each dollar spent now addressing our K-12 major maintenance needs saves monies in the future due to the inflationary drivers associated with major maintenance.

In closing, thank you for sharing your child(ren) with CCSD. Our students are a valuable resource to our community and state; it is a privilege to help shape our state’s future on a daily basis. If there is any additional information I can provide about any of the items noted in this letter or any other district initiative, please contact me at the phone number above or the email address below.

Sincerely,

Chris Reitan, CCSD Superintendent

Email: creitan@craigschools.com