Parnell proposes slight bump to base student allocation

Gov. Sean Parnell addressed the Alaska Legislature Wednesday in his fifth State of the State. Photo by Skip Gray/Gavel Alaska.

Education was the major topic of Parnell’s State of the State address last week. (Photo by Skip Gray/Gavel Alaska.)

Gov. Sean Parnell introduced his education package Friday, and inside is a small increase to the school funding formula.

That increase would come through the “base student allocation,” which is the amount of money a school gets for each child enrolled.

For four years, the BSA has sat at $5,680. Parnell’s bill would raise it about one percent a year for three years. For the upcoming academic year, it would be raised to $5,765. The year after that, it would go to $5,823. Finally, during the 2016-2017 academic year, the BSA would be set at $5,881. There isn’t any language that would inflation-proof the formula beyond that point.

In a statement, the National Education Association’s Alaska affiliate said they appreciated the increase, but that they didn’t think at $200 boost over three years went far enough. This year alone, the Anchorage School District requires a $251-increase to the BSA to cover their shortfall. The Fairbanks North Star Borough School District needs $300, while the Juneau School District needs $425.

At current student enrollment levels, the BSA increase would cost $11 million this year. In addition to the BSA increase, Parnell has already included $25 million to offset school energy costs in his budget.