January Family & Community Letter (1/18/23)

Dear CCSD Families and Community Members:

We have officially started the second semester of the 2022-2023 school year.  This time of year is always critical for school districts. The Alaska legislature prepares to gavel back into session today and begin deliberations on the development of the FY 24 state operating and capital budgets.  As always, CCSD will be paying close attention to this process. 

The legislature’s deliberations on funding levels for Alaska school districts will be of critical interest to CCSD.  The Alaska Senate has organized their leadership positions and committee membership and has already indicated a goal to increase public education funding, which has remained flat since 2017.  The cost of operating school districts has increased substantially since 2017 with increases to salaries, insurance, heating fuel, food, building maintenance, travel, etc., attributing to CCSD’s increased expenses without additional revenues.  CCSD will be providing testimony when appropriate to the need for increasing public education funding to offset the inflationary costs that the district must annually consider with our own budget development.  I will immediately share information with our stakeholders as it becomes available.

Also, CCSD continues moving forward with our Craig Middle School (CMS) and Craig Elementary School (CES) rehabilitation projects.  We went out for bids in December and unfortunately received only one bid for each project.  The bids were substantially above what we currently have available for funding and unfortunately, we were unable to move forward.  We had anticipated a competitive bid process based on the amount of interest we received during the pre-bid walk-throughs of the buildings and were surprised that we only received one bid for each project.  Earlier this month, CCSD met with our architects from MRV and representatives from the Department of Education and Early Development (DEED).  Based on this meeting, it is obvious that DEED wants to see these projects completed and have agreed to combine the grants we received for these two projects into one grant which will ultimately help make the projects more attractive to potential bidders.  We are anticipating going out for bid again in February. 

Additionally, there is a lot of work going on within CCSD in preparation for our second semester and for next school year.

  • CCSD has organized two strategic plan committees to provide recommendations to the CCSD Board as the Board works to update our plan.  The committees will be meeting on Friday, January 20 at 2:15pm with a follow-up meeting scheduled for Friday, February 3.  All parents received email invites to participate on these committees.  If you haven’t responded yet, but would like to engage in this process, please just email me at creitan@craigschools.com.
  • CCSD is also in the process of developing a calendar committee.  Developing our 2023-2024 school calendar is a little more complicated this year because we must factor into the equation the possibility that we will be moving forward with our Craig Middle School and Craig Elementary School major maintenance projects.  Our intent is to go out for bid again in February for these two projects.  As such, we won’t know if we will be able to move forward with these projects until mid-March.  The calendar committee will be developing two working calendars for the 2023-2024 school year.  One calendar will be based on our “traditional” school calendar if we are unable to move forward with our two major maintenance projects.  The second calendar would be based on us moving forward with our major maintenance projects. Our intent is that we will move forward a calendar recommendation to the CCSD School Board during our March meeting with one of the calendars.
  • CCSD continues our collaboration with Southeast Conference on additional funding for our CHS biomass projects.  To date CCSD has secured $855,000 in funding for the project.  CCSD applied for additional funding through the Southeast Alaska Sustainable Strategies (SASS) grant funding source which is being administered by Southeast Conference.  We have received notification that we will be awarded additional grant funding but have not yet received the finalized dollar amount.  Once we receive that information, we will move forward with the bid process.

In closing, thank you for sharing your child(ren) with CCSD.  Our students are a valuable resource to our community and state, and it is a privilege to help shape our state’s future.  Our work at CCSD during the second semester will focus on developing the best educational programs for our students with multiple curricula options for our students and families to choose from based on their educational needs and interests;  advocating for additional revenues for public education so that we can ensure the strongest programs and educational context for our students, families, and community; and improving our CHS, CMS, and CES buildings to ensure the safest and most energy efficient buildings for our students, families, and staff members.  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.

Chris Reitan, CCSD Superintendent
Email: creitan@craigschools.com