Inside the building, the state House had planned to take up Gov. Sean Parnell’s omnibus education package, but debate on the floor was delayed.
Mary Hakala of Great Alaska Schools in Juneau said education funding in the state has not kept up with rising costs.
“Schools across the state are facing deep and devastating cuts,” Hakala said. “It’s impacting our kids, our own children, our neighbors, our schools, the state’s future.”
The group wants the legislature to increase the state’s base student allocation about $650 over the next three school years. That’s more than double the current proposal before lawmakers.
The BSA is the amount school districts across the state receive for each enrolled student. It’s been $5,680 per student for the past four years.
Juneau Douglas High School senior Ruby Steedle says flat funding is starting to take a toll.
“This year our college and career advisor was cut from full to half time. The counseling office almost lost another position, and next year we’re losing 20 teachers across the district,” Steedle said, as the crowd booed the cuts. “That means that we have fewer teachers to reach the same number of students, meaning more students will start slipping through the cracks.”
The governor’s omnibus education bill is expected to be heard on the House floor on Monday.
Alaska has a lot going on right now.
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- While an Alaska Department of Corrections works through a plan to move inmates out of state, the increase in the state's prison population is already having impacts at Juneau’s correctional facility.
- Coeur Alaska projects it’ll be out of room for waste rock in 2022. And its tailings facility will be at capacity by 2024.
- Other notable elements of the Alaska Federation of Natives convention included talk about missing and murdered indigenous women, rural public safety issues, and the keynote speech by Iditarod winner Pete Kaiser
- A few dozen protesters rose from their seats at the Fairbanks auditorium, turned their backs on the governor and held up their fists to protest.