May 14, 2015 Snippets – General Updates Edition

This will be a “General Updates” edition of the Snippets.

BUDGET

Well, yes, I’m writing about the FY16 budget…again.   The AK Legislature did pass a budget on Monday, April 27th.   It wasn’t as bad as it could have been, but it was a bit worse than the Governor’s proposed budget.   However, apparently that’s not the last word. Governor Walker immediately called a special session, which includes a bill to restore part of the cuts to education funding with a proposal called the “Take 2 Budget”. That process is currently underway with no indication of an end-date. Due to deadlines required in statute, we are going to use the numbers passed by the AK House and Senate even though they have not been signed into law. When we run those numbers with our school enrollments and other factors, we will have $428,745 less revenue in our operating budget for next school year.   With lower energy costs, some retirements, resignations, a reduction in staff (1 FTE), and a change to our employee health plans, our business manager and administrators have worked diligently to minimize the impact this will have on our schools. The CRSD Board of Education will have a work session to discuss the budget on May 28th at 5:00PM with the first reading for adoption during the regular meeting at 6:00PM.

EARTH DISCOVERY DAY, CHOZEN FROZEN, and ARCHERY IN SCHOOLS

W.I.S.E. has again hosted Earth Discovery Day for our students. With many volunteers from the National Park Service, BLM, and individuals, Robin Underwood has outdone herself once again.   I also want to thank Glenn Hart again for the extraordinary experience he provided our junior-high students during this year’s Chozen Frozen program.   Taking dozens of junior-high school students to a frozen lake for an overnight outing can only be safely accomplished by a few people. Glenn is one of them!   Finally, I want to thank Becky Schwanke who introduced the National Archery in Schools program to CRSD students.   In each of our schools, students have shown a lot of interest and skill in the archery program.   They not only learn about archery, but other important life skills.   One of our Slana School students aimed his way to the national competition by winning his age group in Alaska. Along with many other volunteers, Becky, Robin and Glenn are the reason budget cuts will not diminish our optimism for the educational opportunities available to students in the Copper River Valley.   Our community is strong, supportive, and filled with talent.

EARTHQUAKE MONITORING PROJECT

The Copper River School District Global Earthquake Forecast System (GEFS) station at Glennallen School went live at 10:26 a.m. on Friday, May 8th. The first pre-earthquake signals were acquired at 10:28 a.m.

All sensors are now active including the NOAA-class weather station which began reporting data at 10:47 a.m. NASA scientists at the Ames Research Center are now testing and monitoring the Copper River GEFS station. Students will be collecting and formatting data for scientists around the world.

GRADUATIONS

Here’s one more invitation to attend this year’s graduation ceremonies.

Slana – Thursday, May 21st, 7:00PM

Kenny Lake School – Friday, May 22nd, 6:00PM

Glennallen High School and Upstream Learning – Tuesday, May 26th, 6:30PM

Though we hope you’ll join us in person, we are gearing up to broadcast all three ceremonies online for family and friends who can’t travel to Glennallen.   Watch our website for a link to the live streams.   And please take time to thank Copper Valley Telecom for the equipment that allows us to show off our graduates online.

ESEA

In addition to the changes happening in Alaska’s education system, a revised Elementary and Secondary Education Act is working its way through the United States Congress. The most recent version passed out of the Senate’s HELP Committee is 790 pages (email me if you’d like a digital copy). Senator Lisa Murkowski’s office has been keeping Alaska’s school officials informed of the status and content of the proposed legislation.   Formerly known as the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), the new law will be called the Every Child Achieves Act (ECAA). If passed and signed by the President, this will most certainly bring more changes to the public education system.   Once a bill passes (if a bill passes), I’ll write a Snippets highlighting the major changes. It will take a few months for each state to determine how to implement any new or revised requirements.

Published by

Michael J.

Superintendent

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