The Anchorage (Alaska) district is recommending closure of six elementary schools in anticipation of a projected budget shortfall of nearly $68 million.
The district is coping with a continued decline in enrollment and flat education funding from the state, reports the Anchorage Daily News.
The schools targeted for closure:
- Abbott Loop Elementary
- Birchwood Elementary
- Klatt Elementary
- Northwood Elementary
- Nunaka Valley Elementary
- Wonder Park Elementary
Among the schools recommended for closure, all but Birchwood Elementary are Title I schools, meaning they have a large portion of students who qualify for free and reduced lunches.
Projections show that the district’s enrollment will likely continue declining by 2% each year for the next five years.
Closure of each elementary school saves the district about $500,000 per school, and the closures would save the district a total of $3.4 million to $4 million, according to chief financial officer Jim Anderson — about 5% of the district’s overall budget deficit.
The district also has a draft plan for what they’ll do with the closed school buildings, though that’s subject to change as officials hear from the community.
School officials said the board is scheduled to decide on Dec. 19 whether to approve the closures.
Video: Communities grapple with proposed closures (Alaska Public Media)