School board approves new teachers for Harborview & Glacier Valley

Harborview and Glacier Valley Elementary schools will each get a new teacher this fall.

The Juneau School District Board of Education approved the new hires at a special meeting Wednesday.  The board last month voted against an additional teacher for Harborview, where kindergarten and first grade class sizes have swollen to 26 children.

School Board President Sally Saddler says the district is getting additional funds from the state foundation formula due to higher enrollment of students with intensive needs.

 “And at the end of the 20 day count, which occurred in October, we come to find that the projection in our estimate was very close to being realized,” Saddler says. “So what this means is we now know with certainty that we will have the funds to be able to commit to staff without having to dip into our already precarious reserve level.”

The additional teacher will bring Harborview class sizes down to about 22 students. Glacier Valley will be able to reduce class sizes in grades 3 through 5.

Saddler says the district is not diverting money from special needs students to fund the regular classroom students.

“Those students who are intensive needs that we know of have an IEP, and we are bound by law to provide the services that are outlined in their IEP.  So regardless of whether we have the money or not, those services need to be provided,” she says.

 IEP is Individualized Education Program.

Earlier this fall, the district approved an additional teacher at Riverbend Elementary, but when enrollment bulged at Harborview, the board said “no.”  It  would have required dipping into school district reserves, considered critically low at less than $400,000.

The Glacier Valley and Harborview teaching positions will be posted Thursday.