Over the last two and half year’s education leaders in Alaska have persevered through the many challenges of the pandemic together. As we cautiously look forward to a school year without mitigation plans at the forefront, I am asking that we come together again as leaders who put our students first, as important education legislation needs our support to reach the finish line during the final days of session.
Members of the legislature have heard your testimony and your stories have resonated with them. The operating budget, HB 281, that has been adopted by Senate Finance includes:
- Full funding for the BSA and pupil transportation
- Full forward funding of the BSA and pupil transportation for FY24
- $60 million in one-time funds outside the BSA (Added through an amendment by the Senate Finance Committee on 4/21. If a BSA increase bill passes, this money will be removed from the budget.)
- $77,129,600 for child nutrition
- $151,864,500 for student and school achievement
- $8,215,000 for early learning coordination
- $5,700,000 for Pre-K grants
- $11,750,000 for Alaska Performance Scholarship awards
- $5,841,800 for Alaska Education Grants
- $1,401,000 for the Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education
- $220. 9 million for school bond debt reimbursement (to pay full school bond debt reimbursement for FY23, and to pay the shortfall for FY17-FY21)
- $83.96 million for the REAA and small municipal school district fund (to fully fund the fund, including repaying unfunded statutory obligations for FY17, FY20, and FY21)
- $14,667,500 for Mt. Edgecumbe High School
- An additional $4.3 million for residential schools to provide a 50 percent increase to the program for FY23. (Funding for the program has not been increased since FY15.)
- $394.6 million to recapitalize the Higher Education Investment Fund
- $10 million to the Dept. of Labor & Workforce Development for workforce development and training programs
The inclusion of forward funding is a testament to your advocacy and making your voice heard. However, we can’t stop now, we need to come together as leaders who are in the trenches facing a fiscal cliff, concerned about teacher retention and the safety of our schools due to deferred maintenance.
You are a resource to your legislator. You are the expert when it comes to issues our public schools face. Your testimony will carry weight as HB 350, HB 272, HB 273, SB 111, and other important education legislation come up for votes during floor sessions.
These pieces of legislation won’t only effect rural or urban school districts, but all public schools in Alaska. We must come together and persevere – Superintendents, Principals and School Business Officials, and administrators across Alaska – to ensure public education in Alaska is serving the best interests of our students.
The ACSA Team is here to support you as we make this final push during session. Please review the draft testimony on our website to help you prepare for testimony. You can also contact us to help you draft or review testimony. We are here to serve! Reach out, let your voice be heard!