Representative Geran Tarr

MAY 23, 2013

Dear Neighbors,

Congratulations on a successful completion of the 2012-2013 school year!  Thank you so much for your hard work and dedication to your students.  I appreciate your efforts and all that you do to help our students succeed!

Like you, I am an educator.  I’ve been teaching for the last fifteen years at UAA and in our public schools.  I know from working with many educators over the years how many of you are paying for classroom materials or paying to help a student go on a field trip out of your own pocket, that you put in extra hours to help those who are struggling, and that you give your free time and summers to attend trainings, help with school projects, and more.  THANK YOU!  It’s because of dedicated teachers and staff, working with our families, that our students achieve great things. 

As an educator in the area that I represent I wanted to take a moment and give you an update on legislation and budget items that may be of interest.  I hope to work with you to provide a fantastic public education to our students.  I believe we should listen to teachers and I would love to hear from you!

This legislative session there was a great deal of discussion about education, from student outcomes to funding to requirements for teachers.  This discussion will continue next year and I hope you’ll get in touch with me to share your ideas.  We did not provide an increase to the BSA (base student allocation), the per-student funding that school districts receive.  This is the 4th year in a row that we did not increase the BSA and I regret that the ASD is making more cuts as a result.  Several of my colleagues did introduce a bill to increase the BSA and reverse the cuts (House Bill 95).  This bill did not receive hearings this year, but could next year.  We will keep pushing!

Other bills of interest are listed in a table below.  Please contact me with any questions.

Budget Items

The capital budget was significantly smaller this year, but I am pleased we were able to provide funding for many small items requested by schools in District 17.  The budget has been signed so this funding is secure.




Airport Heights Elementary School

Data cooling closet


Mountain View Elementary

Purchase Touch Technology


Mountain View Elementary      

Replace Student Desks


Central Middle School 

Purchase of Mobile Computer Lab


Clark Middle School

Band, Orchestra, Choir, Instruments, Materials and Equipment



Wendler Middle School

Data Closet Cooling


Tyson Elementary School

Replace worn cafeteria tables


East High School

Additional Interactive Display Technology & Support Equipment


Again, thank you so much for all you do for public education in Alaska!


signed: Geran Tarr
Representative Geran Tarr

P.S. My door is always open.  If you have time for a visit or cup of coffee please let me know.  The legislative office is 269-0144 and my cell is 360-4047.

Bills of Interest

Bill #/Name





House Bill 87- Extend Special Education Service Agency

Rep. Higgins, P.Wilson, Nageak, Kawasaki, Feige, Tarr, Johnson, Herron, Drummond, Tuck, Kreiss-Tomkins

Increases funding and extends agency to 2021

Passed, awaiting Governor Parnell’s signature

This was a real win because of increasing funding for the students accessing these services.

House Bill 95- Increase BSA

Reps. Tarr, Gara, Drummond, Kawasaki, Guttenberg, Kerttula, Kreiss-Tomkins, Gruenberg, Josephson, Tuck

Increases BSA from $5,680 to $5,966, to match inflation over the four year period, ties BSA to consumer price index

Awaiting a hearing in the House Education Committee

I am a prime sponsor of this bill.  This would allow more funding for teachers in the classroom and smaller class sizes.

House Bill 138- Layoff Notices for Tenured Teachers

Rep. Shelley Hughes

Changes deadline for layoff notice from March 16 to May 15

Was added to another bill that passed

I did not support this bill because we are working to forward fund education rather than delay layoffs to a later date.  I was told delaying the date makes it harder for teachers to look for jobs.

Senate Bill 57- Layoff Notices for Tenured Teachers, Pupil Transportation Funding, and Early Literacy

Senator Stevens, Representative Holmes

Changes deadline for layoff notice from March 16 to May 15, adjusts pupil transportation funding to match consumer price index, and outlines early literacy efforts that school districts must make for students K-3

Passed, awaiting Governor Parnell’s signature

I supported this bill because of the early literacy and pupil transportation funding.  I do not support changing the date for layoff notices, but it was rolled into this bill.

**If you are a tenured teacher,, this bill goes into effect July 1, 2013**

HR 8- Task Force on Sustainable Education

Education Committee, no individual sponsors

This task force will examine many things, including the base student allocation, funding for transportation, energy, personnel, health, and insurance.  The task force will deliver recommendations to the legislature by January 2014. 

Passed, awaiting Governor Parnell’s signature

The task force has a tremendous work load in a very short amount of time.  I plan to attend meetings when possible and keep up to date on the proceedings. 

HJR 1/SJR 9- Constitutional Amendment –Education Funding

Reps. Keller, Reinbold, Lynn, Stoltze


Senators Dunleavy, Dyson, Kelly, Coghill, Giessel

This would place on the November 2014 ballot an amendment to the state constitution allowing for private and religious schools to receive state funding.

House version in House Education


Senator version in Senate Finance

This is highly controversial and I do not support this bill. 

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EMAIL: Rep. Don Young