Enrollment in neighborhood schools drops statewide, leaders say budget crisis is on the way

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An empty hallway at a Kenai Peninsula Borough School
(Sabine Poux/KDLL)

In addition to the coronavirus crisis, Alaska education officials say they’re preparing for a budget crisis.

Lisa Parady, the Executive Director of the Alaska Council of School Administrators, and other officials spoke to legislators during a legislative committee meeting Wednesday. School districts need financial stability now, Parady said.

“The pandemic is an acute issue that at some point will pass but failing to support schools during this time will have lasting impacts.”

RELATED: Anchorage School District projects $15 million loss due to lowered student enrollment

Most of the budget concern stems from a rapid shift in enrollment in schools across the state.

The number of students enrolled in neighborhood schools statewide decreased by 13%, and the number of students in homeschool programs nearly doubled, according to preliminary state data presented during the meeting.

Most districts receive the bulk of their funding for the next school year based on student enrollment numbers in the current year.

Districts are asking the legislature to take an emergency action such as using enrollment numbers from the 2019-2020 school year to determine state funding levels.

Read more: As the school year begins, Alaska school …

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