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Some 150 rally to protest cuts to Anchorage School District budget

A teacher holds up her home made sign at the NEA Alaska rally on Saturday.
Jake Todd
Rep. Les Gara makes a speech during NEA Alaska's impromptu flash mob gathering to protest recent education funding cuts the afternoon of Jan. 19.
Jake Todd
Two men hold up a sign in front of the Alaska Legislative building in downtown Anchorage on Jan. 19 during an impromptu NEA Alaska flash mob protesting recent funding cuts to education.
Jake Todd
A young girl and her mother attend the ENA's education flash mob on a Saturday afternoon in downtown Anchorage, Alaska.
Jake Todd
The public comes out to show support for protesting NEA educators.
Jake Todd
A banner made by "frustrated" education professionals after the Anchorage School Board's decision to cut spending.
Jake Todd
An onlooker, supported by a woman adorning an unusual head piece, observes activity at a NEA Alaska rally on Jan. 19.
Jake Todd
Katie Medred

About 150 people demonstrated Saturday in downtown Anchorage, protesting cuts announced Friday to the Anchorage School District budget, including more than 200 layoffs. 

The event was organized by National Education Association Alaska members. Some 300 NEA Alaska members had previously scheduled a meeting in Anchorage, which morphed into what Lori Blakeslee, NEA-Alaska communications manager, termed an "impromptu public education flash mob." NEA invited parents and local teachers to participate in Saturday's event.

"It went great. We had great signs and everybody is pretty fired up," Blakeslee said. "We're really all feeling that this is an issue that needs to be addressed."

Democratic Representative Les Gara made an appearance at the gathering to support teachers and educational professionals.

“Last year Anchorage was forced to eliminate summer school. This year it’s support staff. With consistently declining support, the next step will be teachers,” Gara said in a press release. “The state has allowed inflation to eat into school resources creating roadblocks to student achievement."

Anchorage School District Superintendent Jim Browder is expected to present his proposed budget to the Anchorage School Board at 2:30 p.m. Thursday. Read more.