“ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND ADVOCACY”
When the political "experts" said it couldn't be done Senator Dave Donley worked to successfully increase Anchorage's share of state education funding... and reduced Anchorage school class sizes. As a School Board Member he has continued to work for parents and students.
Dave Donley 2017-2022 School Board Accomplishments and Advocacy 12.20.22
Dave has a 100% School Board meeting attendance record that can be see at:
During his first two terms on the Anchorage School Board, former Senator Dave Donley worked with fellow Board Members and ASD staff for the following accomplishments.
1. Revised wrongful ASD automatic grade promotion policy (In 2018 only 4 of over 3,000 3rd graders held back.) to a much superior “best interest of the child” standard with mandatory parental involvement. Passed with 4 – 3 vote.
Included in this new policy for the first-time parents will have a strong say in whether it is in the best interest of their child to repeat a grade. Prior to this new policy, in the year 2017 only 4 of over 3,000 third graders were held back to repeat third grade. Other grades had similar shocking numbers. Even when parents felt it was the best thing for their child the District refused to hold back students. It was a policy that reduced accountability, prevented parental decision making, and was not always in the best interest of the student. It resulted in graduating students not proficient in reading and math.
2. Was the deciding vote in 4 – 3 School Board vote to ensure that students returned to in-person learning in January 2021.
Dave was the leading advocate to safely reduce the time schools were closed during the Covid-19 pandemic. He was proven correct in challenging the incorrect threat matrix the District initially adopted and used to justify shutting down schools. The ASD initially adopted a threat matrix designed for nursing homes that Dave opposed and the Health Department eventually ordered the District to stop using as it was wrong for schools.
3. Worked to reduce spending on non-classroom administration. Every year on the Board, he has proposed multiple budget amendments totally millions of dollars to cut administrative overhead, executive salaries, and lower priority expenditures. He voted against the Superintendent and executive salary increase. The Board rejected almost all of Dave’s past spending reductions but many of his budget amendments identified reductions that are now being supported and put forward by the ASD administration to close the massive budget shortfall.
4. Attempted to get the School Board to adopt requirement to play the National Anthem and the Alaska Flag Song at least once a month in schools. Failed by one vote.
5. Successfully amended the voter approved 2019 School Bonds to include important school safety projects to better protect our children against violent threats. Has successfully advocated for inclusion of remaining needed school safety projects in subsequent school bond proposals.
6. Protected parental rights and defeated requirements that parents be forced to “opt out” of controversial curriculums and invasive surveys.
7. Successfully advocated for improved efficacy and accountability in teacher evaluation process. Unsatisfactory annual evaluations increased from only 4 of over 3,000 teachers in 2018, to more than 40. The ASD still has a long way to go with ensuring an accurate teacher evaluation process but it is making progress.
8. Successfully amended the 2020-21 School District budget to prevent the loss of four important school safety officers and paid for them with a reduction in non-classroom related administrative overhead.
9. Successfully sponsored a resolution asking the Municipality to place police officer SRO in all middle schools to better protect our children while in school. Currently SROs are in all high schools. Nationally, middle schools have some of the most serious threats of violent attacks coming from inside the schools.
10. Supported parental choice with charter, alternative, optional, language immersion, Ignite, vocational, Middle College schools, and gifted programs. Cast deciding vote to restore funding to the Ignite Program in 2020-21 School District Budget. Protected and expanded at no cost to taxpayers enhanced optional schools including new O’Malley Elementary French immersion school funded with non-taxpayer grants.
11. Worked to successfully increase elementary lunch and recess time. Continues to support 60 minutes for lunch/recess.
12. Succeeded in getting all school district music teachers to follow existing ASD curriculum and teach the National Anthem and the Alaska Flag Song. Something some music teachers were refusing to do even though these patriotic songs are part of the music curriculum.
13. Continues to hold the District accountable for all schools following existing ASD policy to say the Pledge of Allegiance every morning.
14. Succeeded in forcing for the first time an evaluation of the current failing Common Core math curriculum versus the traditional Saxon Math currently successfully used in four ASD schools. The schools using Saxon Math outperformed other schools. Dave voted against continuing to use the failing Common Core math curriculum and has advocated for adoption of proven successful Saxon Math.
15. Consistently advocated for the expanded use of the proven Spaulding Reading curriculum
which has proven to have students reading by third grade and sooner. Four ASD schools currently use Spaulding Reading and they are all top reading skills performers.
16. Supported prioritizing hiring and retention of SBBS teachers and programs to give all our students a better chance to succeed.
17. In 2022, Dave proposed amendments reducing future ASD spending by over $40 million by changing the proposed building of three new elementary schools to doing much less expensive major remodeling for the existing schools.
Website: www. dave4asd.com / Facebook: Dave Donley School Board
Additionally, as a state senator...
* Dave authored key legislation to make our children safer both in school and in transit to and from school.
* Leader to fight for education funding reform (1998 SB 36) which increased funding for Anchorage schools by over $9 million and reduced class sizes.
* Leader in successful fight for equal treatment for Anchorage schools regarding transportation funding formula which added an additional $1.5 million and resulted in lowering property taxes.
* Lead the fight for full and early funding of K-12 Education.
* Authored School Bus Safety Act of 1990.
* Co-Sponsored state school construction and repair bonds (1998 SB11) that reduced property taxes of average Anchorage home by over $100 per year for the next decade.
* Championed needed road and trail safety improvements for Anchorage schools.
* Authored laws to protect teachers and students from dangerous juveniles.
* Championed needed expansion of juvenile detention facilities.
* Authored law creating new funding source for Alaska's Children's Trust.
* Amended state law to end bureaucratic discrimination against Anchorage school construction needs.
* Sponsored successful infant care education curriculum legislation.
* Legislative leader for funding of new UAA library necessary to maintain accreditation.
* Voted for state funding to help first computerize Anchorage schools.
* Supported funding for new West High School Science Wing.
* Supported needed new high school construction in Eagle River, Chugiak, and South Anchorage. At the time existing high schools were badly overcrowded.
* As Co-Chair Senate Finance Committee successfully championed increased school funding even when State budget was being reduced.
Restoring Patriotism in Schools
Although Dave’s proposal to have schools play the National Anthem and the Alaska Flag Song once a month failed on a 4-3 vote he was successful in ensuring all ASD schools (with a very few exceptions) will now be saying the Pledge of Allegiance every day and that these patriotic songs are taught in all music classes.