CRSD Snippets – FY17 Budget Process

Have you ever met someone who is irrepressibly optimistic?   Even to the point of irritation?    Well, if I’ve ever complained about that type of person, I take it all back now.   As I listen to the Alaska news, read articles and prepare for the CRSD budget process, I would welcome with open arms a busload of optimistic people.

From the revenue perspective, the news is bad and keeps getting worse.   While the Governor and Legislature work out a long-term plan, we’ll need to develop a budget for the 2016-2017 school year.   It won’t be easy.    More than likely, revenue will be down and expenses will increase.   The CRSD Board will be negotiating new contracts with the Copper Valley Teacher’s Association, Copper Valley Classified Association and its administrators.    The Board has to balance our revenue with the need to attract and retain quality educators.

Budget cutThe timing of the CRSD budget development process is dependent on decisions made in Juneau.   We can only guess at revenue until bills are passed and signed by the Governor.   We will monitor proposed legislation and the debates in Juneau to keep our guesses educated, but final numbers and decisions won’t be made until we know how much funding we will receive for the 2016-2017 school year.   Like last year, the Legislature may require an extended session into the summer.

There will be multiple opportunities for public input into the CRSD budget.   On the website, there is a flow-chart that illustrates the process.   Here is a summary:

It all begins here in the office as we calculate enrollment and revenue based on current funding.   We also monitor the chatter from Juneau regarding possible cuts, or as in the old days, possible funding increases.   This goes on for several weeks as the Legislative session gets up to speed.    In February or early March, we’ll have a budget committee meeting to share what we know up to that point.   The administrator will also share that information at each school, usually at an ASB meeting.   Revisions and updates to the numbers will be made repeatedly as schools identify priorities, numbers adjust due to staffing changes (i.e. resignations, new hires, negotiations, etc.), and information comes to us from Juneau.   I will travel to each school in April or early May to share our budget recommendations, based on what we know about potential funding.   In June, the Board will have a work session to potentially make final changes and vote on a FY17 budget.   All meetings are announced on the radio, through our website and social media.   Each Board meeting includes an opportunity for public comment.

Your ideas and questions are also welcomed by phone call, email or budget in clamp (clipping path included)a visit to the district office.   822-3234, ext. 223,

In all of our deliberations, I hope our students see us do democracy well.   Their hopes,
dreams, and preparation for the future should not rise and fall with the price of oil.  Instead, by our example during uncertain times, I hope they come to appreciate the stable bedrock of character and citizenship.



Rylee Ownbey – Meet the CRSD

Each month the CRSD Snippets will highlight one of our dedicated employees.    We will randomly draw a name so that every employee in the district has the opportunity to be recognized for his or her unique and essential role in providing a quality education in our rural environment.    This month, we are pleased to present Rylee Ownbey.

Name: Rylee Ownbey


Birthday:  July 5th

Role in the CRSD:  Elementary and Special Education School Teacher

Primary Campus: Kenny Lake School

R Ownbey.pngWhere else have you taught?  Morgan School, Hutchinson, KS

Where are you originally from?  Kansas

Favorite Book/Author/TV Show:  East of Eden; Downton Abbey

Favorite Music Genre:  Singer-songwriter

Favorite Place in Alaska:  Kenny Lake, it’s my home

Favorite Place Outside of Alaska:  My parents’ house

Hobbies:  Reading, running, and music

Favorite Aspect of Teaching:  Every year is a new challenge; the kids are the best.

One Interesting Thing About You That Might Be Surprising: I played soccer in college.

Favorite Beverage:  Coffee

Favorite Snack:  Fruit

In One Sentence, What Advice Do You Have for Students?  No matter what you’re facing, how easy or difficult it may be, do your best.

Mrs. Ownbey started working in the Copper River School District in 2011.   Send Mrs. Ownbey an email, buy her a piece of fresh fruit or take her a cup of hot tea to let her know how much we appreciate her serving students and families in the CRSD.

Alaska education department will replace new statewide standardized test | Alaska Dispatch News

Alaska’s Department of Education announced Tuesday that it will get rid of the new statewide standardized test less than a year after students in grades 3 through 10 took the exam for the first time.

Source: Alaska education department will replace new statewide standardized test | Alaska Dispatch News

Alaska Board of Education pauses teacher evaluation changes | Education |

FAIRBANKS — The Alaska Board of Education advanced a proposal this week that would halt a pilot program requiring student achievement data be used in teacher evaluations.

Source: Alaska Board of Education pauses teacher evaluation changes | Education |

Charter for Alaska’s Children – January 14th Snippets

Within the next couple of weeks, one of the most consequential legislative sessions in recent memory will begin in Juneau.   Not since the Alaska Constitutional Convention in the winter of 1955-56 has the future of our state been so intensely debated.   Difficult decisions must be made, and yet, our responsibility to look for opportunity must not be neglected.

During the last few days of the Alaska Constitutional Convention, Delegate Roland Armstrong rose to make a motion.

“Mr. President, from the very beginning of this Convention it had been my hope that there might be from this Convention a statement or pledge to Alaska’s children. I believe that it is time at the close of this Convention to say to the children of Alaska, in light of this completed Constitution, that we do solemnly make a promise to them and with them in our future State, and so, sir, I would move that a committee be appointed to draw up a resoalaska_consitutional_convention_photolution that would be known as a pledge to Alaska’s children, this pledge to be signed by you, sir, as the President of this Convention; a pledge that would be able to be placed in every school room; a pledge that would say to them that we call upon them for their cooperation as we move toward statehood, because they will be the future citizens. I would hope that this would say that we are providing for them a place where they may practice the faith of their choice; an opportunity for education to meet today’s problems; a country filled with trees and streams, bounded by adequate laws to help them in the future; and the possibility of a future state that can be theirs where they can operate as the citizens of tomorrow. So I move, sir, for this committee.”

On the last day of the convention, Reverend Armstrong proposed the following language for a “charter for Alaska’s children.”

“You are Alaska’s children. We bequeath to you a state that will be glorious in her achievements, a homeland filled with opportunities for living, a land where you can worship and pray, a country where ambitions will be bright and real, an Alaska that will grow with you as you grow. We trust you; you are our future. We ask you to take tomorrow and dream; we know that you will see visions we do not see. We are certain that in capturing today for you, you can plan and build. Take our constitution and study it, work with it in your classrooms, understand its meaning and the facts within it. Help others to love and appreciate it. You are Alaska’s children. We bequeath to you the land, the mountains, the lakes, the skies. This is your land and we ask you to possess it.”

In 1956, Alaska was still three years from statehood.   It was more than twenty years from enjoying revenue from oil.   The delegates knew many challenges must be confronted, and yet, building upon the rich cultural heritage of past generations of Alaskans, they pointed forward to an “Alaska that will grow with you as you grow.”     Alaska has grown, and not just economically.

“We trust you” the delegates said to Alaska’s children, then and now.   They knew that as Alaska grew, it would continue to be a “homeland filled with opportunities for living.”   And despite the pending obstacles, they asked Alaska’s children to “take tomorrow and dream.”

Barrel of oil with a blank price tagAs we begin what will surely be a raucous and loud legislative session, let’s pause to look back and learn from those who led before.   Let’s remind ourselves often, that our hopes and dreams for Alaska’s children should not rise and fall with the price of oil.   Let’s encourage our children to dream and work hard to keep those dreams unbound to material wealth or lack thereof.   We must face the economic realities of our time, but in doing so, we must not turn our backs on our responsibility to secure for our youth “a future state than can be theirs.”

The Native and non-Native leaders that constructed Alaska’s constitution looked forward for Alaska’s children.   Wisely, they did not promise future wealth and riches.   They did not restrict the dreams of tomorrow with the price of oil today.   We should follow their lead.



Dispatches from Peace Corps Mongolia – GHS Graduate Hayley Crow

Growing up in Glennallen, Hayley Crow was prepared for two years in a remote village while serving in the Peace Corps. Instead, she was placed at a hospital in a city of 1.5 million. It’s the first of many surprises during her two years as a volunteer in Mongolia.

Source: Dispatches from Peace Corps Mongolia – Green & Gold News

New Year’s Reading Goal – Snippets

2016 on brown tag paper new year decoration

Happy New Year! I hope everyone reading this edition of the CRSD Snippets finished 2015 with gratitude and is welcoming 2016 with optimism.   A new year is a fresh start and full of opportunity to plan and set goals.

New Year’s Resolutions often get a bad rap.   That’s probably because so many of us fail to stick with them very long.   It isn’t that resolutions are bad, it is that we often don’t have good resolve.   Back in October, students in the CRSD learned how to apply determination as part of their character. Students learned that part of being a determined person requires goal setting and resolve.   Those lessons can benefit us all as we enter the new year. If you need some inspiration to keep your resolutions, I proudly point you to students in the CRSD. From academics to athletics, our students have clearly demonstrated the ability to set goals and how to achieve them.

Here’s a suggestion as you set goals for 2016. Just before Christmas break, the CRSD Snippets article focused on the benefits of giving a book for Christmas.   I hope a lot of book-giving took place in the Copper Valley.   And by hoping a lot of book-giving took place, I’m hoping you have a stack of books waiting to be read.   The reality is, even if you didn’t get a single book for Christmas, there will always be a lot of books worth reading.   Now is a great time to set some goals for reading some of those worthwhile books you may have received…or wished you had received.

Reading goals can be general or specific.   You can set a goal to read a certain number of books.   Or, if you have specific titles you wish to read, you can make a list of books you will strive to read before the end of 2016.
You can even blend the two by setting goals for reading in areas of particular interest.   For example, you can set a goal to read five books in history and five novels, for a total of ten books read for 2016.

Goal setting can be a family activity.   Pop some popcorn, sit down together and think throuaufgeschlagenes Buch auf Bcherstapelgh some realistic reading goals for 2016.   This will be motivating and fun as you talk about the kinds of books you want to read and how you’ll go about achieving your goals. Together, maybe you’ll decide that you’ll have “reading corner” every evening for thirty minutes. You’ll be surprised how many books you’ll read in a year by setting aside just 30 minutes a day.   You can support each other throughout the year with encouragement, accountability and celebration.   Throw a party when you get half-way to your goal and decide with your family what the reward will be if everyone reaches their goal.   Make it something special!

Along with whatever other resolutions you make this new year, I hope you’ll join me in setting some reading goals for 2016.

Keep me posted. I would enjoy learning about the reading goals you’ve set and sharing mine. Email me, stop by or give me a call.

Happy New Year!