School weigh options for $8.2 million cut

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska - The Fairbanks North Star Borough School District is stepping closer to a final budget for next year.
With $8.2 million dollars in proposed cuts, there's a risk of teachers, after- school activities, and more being let go.
At Monday evening's budget workshop, the School Board, as well as district employees, discussed further how this 4 percent cut would impact students and staff.

Jim Williams from Mayor Karl Kassel's office and Matt Cooper from the Borough Assembly began the night with some of the challenges the borough is having to face.
As the borough's budget forms, the discussion of maintenance on borough facilities is a major topic.
With roughly 25 percent coming from local entities, whatever the borough decides will impact the school district.

Jim Williams; FNSB Chief of Staff >> "We have to be very mindful about what we exempt. The bottom line is that it effects the school district formula."

If approved, this budget raises class sizes and eliminates about 50 jobs, including teachers, library assistants and custodians.

Heidi Haas; Board President >> "We're down to if we reduce anything we're impacting students."

But there is something that the school district will be implementing in schools to continue to give students new equipment.
The 'Equipment Replacement Fund' is an internal service fund to help maintain equipment that's purchased.
The main priority would be to replace instructional devices including laptops but can include instruments, vehicles and grounds equipment.
The Borough has been using a similar system.

Jim >> "How much do we really have? And what's the replacement cycle look like? 'Oh no we need to be putting a couple hundred-thousand dollars a year and planning a head for this because we know that servers don't last forever, switches don't last forever, routers don't last forever. Those things fall part."
But for some, the bad outweighs the good.

Thomas Bartels; Board Treasurer >> "Tonight I've been taking some notes and I've kind of separated things into pros and cons and my cons side of my page is far longer than the pros side of my page with regards to the cuts."

An approved 2018-2019 budget must be sent to the Borough Assembly on April 1.