Time to go to bat for Fairbanks K-12 education
News-Miner Community Perspective:
Public education is a value-added endeavor. School districts do more than teach academic subjects. We provide services to the whole child. Those services meet not only student, family and community needs, but also state and federal requirements. Schools in the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District are supported by services that include counseling, nursing, secretarial, custodial, administration, coaching, behavior intervention, prevention and intervention, curriculum, payroll, human resources, federal programs, professional development and more. Every school district system in Alaska requires these types of supports to function effectively for their communities and also to meet state and federal requirements.
Alaska superintendents recognize the need to “tighten the belt” during these fiscally challenging times facing our state. For most of us, however, flat funding from both local municipalities and the state already represents a significant level of cuts. Fairbanks experiences annual cost increases that include salary obligations, utilities, student transportation, and nutrition services. Those increases require cuts elsewhere when funding is flat. Before we even begin the conversation about local contribution or the state base student allocation, we are faced with expenditure increases totaling more than $4 million, or approximately 2 percent of our annual operating budget. In addition, we will have an automatic reduction in state revenue of almost $1 million because of decreased enrollment.
About Dr. Karen Gaborik
Dr. Gaborik holds a Bachelor of Arts in speech communication from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and earned her teaching certification through the Teach for Alaska program. She holds a Master’s of Education from the University of Alaska Anchorage in special education. She received her Doctorate of Education in K-12 education administration from Argosy University. As a lifelong Fairbanks resident, Dr. Gaborik brings a unique and valuable perspective to the position of superintendent as she has both attended and worked at district schools. She taught at both the high school and middle school levels and served as assistant principal and principal of Lathrop High School. Dr. Gaborik has earned numerous awards throughout her career including Alaska Principal of the Year, and she is active in the Alaska Superintendents Association. She is known throughout the district — and the state — for her thoughtful, collaborative leadership style and her successful implementation of innovative programs such as smaller learning communities, professional learning communities and effective teaming.