State Education Commissioner Michael Johnson said it’s time to review how the state funds public schools.
On Wednesday, Johnson was asked about the school funding formula at a Senate Finance Committee hearing on whether he should be designated as the successor to Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer if one is needed.
“It’s my notion that the formula is over 20 years old,” Johnson said. “It was developed before a lot of the technology that we have today. And so I would suggest that a review at least of the formula is in order.”
It’s not clear how public schools will be affected by Gov. Michael Dunleavy’s revised budget. Dunleavy is scheduled to introduce the budget on Feb. 13.
Johnson also said he was consulted by Dunleavy’s Office of Management and Budget about a controversial $20 million proposed cut in school funding in the current budget.
“As commissioner of education, I support the governor’s proposed supplemental budget,” he said.
Johnson said in response to another question that he didn’t consult with school districts before the $20 million cut was proposed.
The sudden resignation of Byron Mallott as lieutenant governor in October focused attention on the process for choosing a successor to the position. Former Health and Social Services Commissioner Valerie Nurr’araaluk Davidson succeeded Mallott. The Legislature must vote on the designated successor in a joint session on Dunleavy’s appointments.
Watch the latest legislative coverage from Gavel Alaska:
- President Trump on Friday declared a national emergency to get money for a border wall that Congress refused to fund. He plans to divert $3.6 billion from military construction accounts, and that could drain money from Alaska projects.
- Gov. Dunleavy's proposed budget does away with about 25% of K-12 funding and cuts the University of Alaska system’s funding by 41%. Sitka School District's superintendent says, "If implemented, it will decimate public education in Alaska."
- Winter storms and blustery weather buffeting the Bering Sea this month have reduced sea ice coverage by almost 25% since late January. Sea ice in the Bering Sea is typically solid and stable this time of year, but scientists and communities are observing large areas of open water, and where there is ice, much of it is shifting.
- Anchorage resident Katie Van says she was charged undue sales taxes on clothing she bought from outside of Alaska. But LuLaRoe says they fixed their sales tax automation software and already made refunds.