Across Alaska, Friday was the last day in a four-week period where student attendance translates into school funding.
Public schools receive a major chunk of their funding from the state under what’s known as the foundation formula. It’s complex, but generally, the more students in attendance in October, the more state funding each school receives.
This year, a typical student with perfect attendance between Sept. 30 and Oct. 25 is worth $5,680 to his or her school. That’s the figure that legislators and education officials call the “base student allocation.”
Funding adjustments, including extra money for students with special needs, cost-of-living differences from district to district, and reductions for efficiencies at larger schools, introduce more complexity.
Huge tables of data due to the state Nov. 8 are being compiled to count every public school student in Alaska.
The Juneau School District is expected to announce its final numbers early next week. Preliminary counts are about 106 students lower than expected – and that means the district is over budget by about $1 million this year. That amount covers salary and benefits for about 10 teachers.
- Heli-skiing has long been a controversial topic in Haines. The interests of the industry often clash with people who live near heliports and don’t want the noise disturbing their peace and quiet. But there’s another group that’s impacted by helicopter noise: mountain goats.
- In the Northwest Arctic, caribou hunting has been contentious for years. Alaska’s largest herd continues to decline while tensions have emerged between rural subsistence users and outside hunters.
- From the Aleutian island of Akutan to the arctic village of Kiana, 13 communities have been crowned champions of a rural energy competition. The U.S. Department of Energy recently announced that it will help these communities cut their energy use by 15 percent by training local utility providers.
- It’s costing 14 percent more to take the ferry to and from the Lower 48. The higher fare is part of another round of tariff increases aimed at boosting income and equalizing rates across all routes.