From the Principal

by Admin on February 13th, 2011
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Last Week ASD Memorandum # 219 Proposed Financial Plan (First Reading).

The board passed the proposed budget on first reading.  We heard lots of testimony from people concerned about four issues.

  1. The change in middle school sports from a competitive team model to an intramural program;
  2. The reduction in high school secretary positions;
  3. The reduction in library assistant positions; and
  4. The career guide positions in middle school.

The administration proposed about $13 million in spending reductions. Of that, there appears to be board concern over about $2 million of those changes, and based on the testimony, the community is concerned about a slightly smaller amount of reductions.  That suggests that the administration has done a very good job of listening to the views of board members and the community, and has aligned the budget with those views.

Although the board didn’t make any changes at this meeting, there will likely be some changes at the second reading. The District will continue to receive e-mails and other comments. E-mails can be sent to  There was extensive discussion about possible changes.  There seems to be support for restoring summer school, high school secretarial support, and possibly the library assistants.  The career guides are proposed to be in the budget, and the board seems to be supportive of that as well.

What is less clear is whether there is support for making changes that would free up money to pay for adding anything back to the budget.  Some board members are willing to consider some increase in average class size.  Others are very much opposed.  Most board members seem willing to use some additional fund balance, but not enough to pay for everything the District would like to put back in the budget

Some new costs this year include:

New fees for rental of the Anchorage Football stadium
New fees for rental of municipal trails and picnic shelters
New fees for helping pay for property tax collection
Full cost of the School Resource Officers who spend about 70% of their time on ASD work.

I will keep you informed, as more information is available.

In addition we have just learned that Steller is not immune to the effects of retirement.  At the end of this school year our beloved Nina Bonito-Romine is retiring.  Sad but true, Nina has been a fixture in the hall’s of Steller for 28 years.  She will be missed by one and all.  Her wisdom, leadership and enthusiasm  for teaching and her support for the Steller way will leave a void that will be difficult to patch.  But, patch it we shall!

The enrollment projection for Steller next year is a bit down from previous years [see chart below].

Although we were slated to have 271 students this year we were significantly under that.

If you know of anyone that wants to come to Steller, please tell them to fill out an application and get it to Elizabeth Wood no later than March 24 by 3:00pm.  In an effort to up our enrollement we authorized a radio ad with KSKA for 12 spots on the morning drive advertising our upcoming Open House.  Depending on the results of this radio blitz-  will determine if we do the same for lottery.  Hopefully, we will have success with this strategy.  In addition Linda is working hard with the Know Your Alternatives and we are all set with our Elementary Ice Cream Social that we are hoping will bring in elementary parents to see what we are about.

Also, I’ve authorized our MPR for evening use to Winterberry.  This should create goodwill and positive rapport with another segment of the community.  The hope is by Winterberry having some events here the parents will inadvertently see Steller as a welcoming place to be.  The hope is we will draw some new support through this effort.

For those of you with Seniors and Juniors you should find this very helpful.  I have attached the link to the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education and Alaska Student Loan Corporation [APS] website for frequently asked questions.  I have received some questions regarding the funding of the program—this is how the question has been addressed on the APS website:

“Funding has not yet been appropriated for the Alaska Performance Scholarship. It is expected that funding will be considered in the 2011 Legislative session. The Governor’s office has announced that the Governor’s proposed FY 2012 budget will include $8.2 million for the first year’s awards.”

Categories: From the Principal, Ole Steller Yeller

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