A crowd of teachers, students, and parents gathered in front of the Capitol steps on Tuesday to speak out for increased funding of education.
For many at the rally, the questions of lowering taxes on oil companies and adjusting education funding were inextricably twined.
Kindergarten teacher Kayla Harmon waved a sign saying as much.
“It says ‘Big breaks for big oil? How about a little more for little Alaskans?'”
The per-student funding amount has been held at the same level for three years now. And across Alaska, school districts are considering budget cuts.
Anchorage has a shortfall of $25 million, while Juneau is facing a nearly $2 million gap.
Protestors like Harmon expressed concern that state funding for education will stay stagnant at the same time that the legislature is advancing an oil tax overhaul that would cut state revenue by $800 million next year.
“We talk a lot about our natural resources, and we really have to think long and hard that kids are our future. If we want these jobs to stay inside our state, we need to educate our students to be prepared for those jobs.”
Nearly a dozen Democratic legislators spoke at the rally, passing a bullhorn between them. They’ve introduced a bill that would tie the base student allocation to inflation, but it hasn’t been scheduled for a hearing.
Since the beginning of the legislative session, Republicans in the majority have said they’re working on their own fix for education funding, but have been tight-lipped on details.
- Less than a day after President Trump's inauguration, protesters are taking to the streets to oppose his policies. Between a rally and a march, they aim to call attention to a broad list of demands.
- Walker’s pay freeze bills would affect employees of the executive and legislative branches, as well as the University of Alaska who are not covered by union contracts.
- Boosters of the road say they remain committed to pushing for better Juneau access. The proposed resolution will be a test of the Juneau Assembly's support for the politically divisive project.
- It's been nearly a year since the City and Borough of Juneau demolished the Gastineau Apartments. Now the city is taking the owners to court to recoup some of the $1.4 million spent tearing it down.