Senate panel to hear from leading voucher advocate

School vouchers will be the subject of two hearings on Friday at the Alaska Legislature.

Three experts are slated to testify on school choice in the Senate Education Committee. The House Education Committee will discuss the amendment’s House counterpart, HJR1, at the same time.

HJR1, by Rep. Wes Keller, proposes to amend Alaska’s Constitution to allow the state to appropriate public funds to private or religious educational institutions. Critics argue that it could siphon off funds from a public school system that is already seeking additional funds.

Senate Education Committee chairman Sen. Gary Stevens said his panel would take a thorough look at the issue of vouchers after Senate President Charlie Huggins pulled a proposed constitutional amendment from the education committee while Stevens was out of town.

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