School teachers, staff speak out against potential cuts

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska - At Tuesday evening's School Board meeting, board members heard from Art educators, librarians, coaches, and special education aides as they asked the board to reconsider potential cuts.
Julia Laude brings us the emotional testimony.

Proposed budget cuts to the district is causing an emotional reaction.
With the potential elimination of sports, teachers and other education specialists, many joined together to let the school board know how important their work is.

Lynnae Happ; District Wide Art Teacher>>"Students deserve an equitable art education. Please reconsider these wide spread ramifications of these proposed cuts."

Heidi Collins says her love of art began in her elementary years, the same age of students she teaches.

Heidi Collins; District Wide Art Teacher>>"The spark starts now. It certainly did for me. I've grown up in Fairbanks, I had art specialists as a kid. They're excited when we enter a school and it picks up their day and we get to do art in a really different focused way and I want that for my kids."

Librarians and Library Assistants from across the district also spoke out to advocate for libraries in schools.

Cindy Apodaca; Librarian - West Valley High School>>"The library is a special place in our schools."

Each day comes with a variety of challenges for librarians.

Deborah Tice; Librarian - North Pole Middle School>>"During a single day, the district library staff hosted almost 1,900 students for independent visits which were independent of their class room. We created meaningful and innovated programming. We connected with staff at least 27 times a day. We circulated 562 items. We made 47 personalized reading and reference recommendations. We placed 42 books on hold."

And without both the librarian and assistant,

Becky Dustin; Library Assistant - North Pole High School>>"I've kind of lived that reality of being one person in the library and it really wasn't very pretty."

The school board will continue to work on the 2018-19 budget, with additional budget meetings scheduled for March 7th and 8th.
This is Julia Laude reporting.