State Senator Scott Kawasaki hosts public meeting on potential school closures

Published: Jan. 26, 2022 at 4:05 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - On Tuesday, January 25, state Senator Scott Kawasaki hosted a public meeting discussing the Fairbanks School District’s current budget crisis and the potential closure of certain schools in the district.

In attendance were school board members Jennifer Luke and Tim Doran, Chief School Administrator Karen Melin, and district Chief Operations Officer Andy DeGraw.

After a presentation from DeGraw about the budget crisis, district officials took questions and comments from the community, many of whom were critical of the idea to close Nordale and Joy Elementary Schools.

Three options for school efficiency have been proposed to the district. All three plans include closing Joy Elementary and Anderson Elementary, and two include closing Nordale Elementary.

According to DeGraw, if facilities aren’t closed, the next step would be to lay off staff. “We’ve cut every single solitary place in the entire district that we can find in the areas of supplies, equipment, [and] contracts. We’ve found every single efficiency that we can find. We’ve trimmed the fat. We’ve trimmed the meat. We’re down to bone, and we’re now chipping into the bone,” he said.

The full meeting can be found on Senator Kawasaki’s YouTube page.

More information about the school district’s budget crisis and the proposed efficiency plans can be found here.

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