October Family & Community Letter (10/24/23)

October 24, 2023
Dear CCSD Families and Community Members,

October is an important month for our island-based communities as the municipal and school district elections are held. Public education is the cornerstone of our nation’s democracy and is founded on the belief that the best decisions are made at the local level. On Tuesday, October 10, 2023, the CCSD School Board met in a special meeting; the purpose of the special meeting was for the newest Board members to take their Oath of Office and for the Board to reorganize its leadership positions. CCSD is pleased to welcome Julie McDonald, Josh Andrews, and Ben Page as our newly elected members to the CCSD School Board. The CCSD School Board is comprised of the following members for the 2023-2024 school year:

  • Hans Hjort - President

  • Trish Conatser – Vice President

  • Josh Andrews – Secretary/Treasurer

  • Julie McDonald - Member

  • Ben Page - Member

  • Isabelle Priddy, CCSD Student Board Representative

October is also a critical month for all school districts across our state. October serves as our official student count period which provides most of the funding CCSD will receive for the 2023-2024 school year. The official student count period for the 2023-2024 school year began on Monday, October 2 and runs through Friday, October 27, 2023. As our enrollment currently stands, CCSD is anticipating an increase in our PACE homeschool student enrollment from last year, which will increase our district-wide student enrollment.

One item for community members to be aware of is the financial concern that most school districts across the state are currently facing. The majority of school districts across the state are anticipating significant budget deficits as districts begin the budgeting process for the 2024-2025 school year. Unfortunately, CCSD is no different. Unless there is a significant increase to the Base Student Allocation, which is the driving force for state funding for school districts, CCSD is anticipating having to make some difficult budget decisions as we prepare for next school year. Alaskan school districts have been flat-funded at the state level since 2017. The $5960 Base Student Allocation that CCSD is receiving for each student this year has a buying power of $4682 when compared to FY 12 dollars. As such, school districts are having to do more with less. As we prepare for the upcoming legislative session, school funding will play a significant role in budget discussions at the state level. We ask for your support as we prepare to advocate for all students across our state to receive adequate funding so that districts can continue providing the instructional services our students deserve. As more information is available about our 2024-2025 budget needs, we will share that information with all stakeholders. The more information we all have, the more deliberate we can be with our legislative advocacy.

CCSD is extremely pleased for the collaborative spirit that is embedded within our community. It is only by working in partnership with our families, community organizations, and staff members that a school district can best meet the educational needs and interests of the students we are privileged to serve. If there is more information I can provide about any of the items noted in this letter or any other district initiative, please don’t hesitate to contact me. CCSD can’t thank our parents, community members, and staff members enough for all that you do in support of our students.

Sincerely,

Chris Reitan, CCSD Superintendent

Email: creitan@craigschools.com