April Family & Community Letter (4/23/24)

April 23, 2024

Re: City of Craig Sales Tax Survey

Dear CCSD Families and Community Members:

The City of Craig is considering placing a ballot question on the October 2024 ballot that would allow for a sales tax increase, or an increased sales tax based on a seasonal rate (summer) to provide a dedicated revenue stream for CCSD. This dedicated revenue stream would allow CCSD to respond to the annual inflationary increases to our budget. 

The state of Alaska has flat-funded school districts since 2017 while our operational costs have increased dramatically during this time-span due to inflation. This budgetary crisis is not isolated to CCSD. Unfortunately, every district in the state is facing significant financial hardships. In the development of our 2024-2025 budget, CCSD must still address a shortfall of approximately $1.15 million. This $1.15 million shortfall exists after several budget development workshops, significant reductions to operating costs, and the elimination of seven teaching positions and one half-time administrative position.

CCSD Staff Reductions for the 2024-2025 School Year

  • Craig Elementary School Special Education Teacher

  • Craig Middle School Special Education Teacher

  • PACE Contact Teacher

  • K-8 PE/Health Teacher – CCSD will have one K-12 PE/Health Teacher to serve CES, CMS and CHS

  • K-8 SEALS Teacher – CCSD will have one K-12 SEALS Teacher to serve CES, CMS and CHS

  • CHS/PACE Counselor Position – CCSD will have on counselor to serve CES, CMS, CHS and PACE

  • CHS ELA Teacher

  • CCSD 1⁄2 Time Special Education Director – This position is being combined with the incoming superintendent's responsibilities

Considering its flat revenue streams, CCSD’s ability to present a balanced budget until now is a testament to sound budgeting practices and financial responsibility on the part of our current and past school boards. Federal COVID relief funds also offset budget deficits for several years, but these were temporary measures.

If there is no increase to school funding at the state or city level, CCSD will need to consider eliminating more positions in the future which will further reduce the educational services we provide our students and families. Please note these options are not set in stone, nor are they the only options the district would need to consider. These are just some of the areas the district might need to consider if no additional revenue streams are secured. CCSD wants to ensure that our families have a solid understanding of what additional reductions might mean. It’s important for our families to understand that if CCSD is required to eliminate approximately $1.15 million additional funds from the budget there will not be much of a K-12 educational program remaining. Eliminating additional positions are the least desirable outcomes for our students and community.

Additional Reductions in Services CCSD Might Need to Consider if no Additional Revenues are Secured

  • Eliminate the high school welding program.

  • Eliminate the K-12 music program.

  • Eliminate some elementary teaching positions and combine grade levels.

  • Reduce extra-curricular opportunities for students and the associated travel costs.

  • Eliminate a principal position and combine with the superintendent’s responsibilities.

  • Eliminate a maintenance position.

In closing, additional revenues are a necessity for CCSD to continue providing the full array of educational opportunities for the students we are privileged to serve. Our community has the power to influence the future of CCSD in a very tangible way by helping secure a dedicated, community-based funding stream for the district. CCSD is extremely grateful for the collaboration we have experienced from our City of Craig partners and their willingness to seek additional revenue streams for the district. If you are a City of Craig resident, please complete the City of Craig’s survey that will help shape the ballot initiative the City is developing for the October 2024 ballot.

If there is additional information I can provide about the City of Craig’s sales tax survey, CCSD’s 2024-2025 budget development process, or any other district initiative please don’t hesitate to contact me at my email address, creitan@craigschools.com, or my direct office line 907-826-3274 ext. 4003.

Sincerely,

Chris Reitan, CCSD Superintendent

Email: creitan@craigschools.com