Bill Gives Legislature a Tool to Solve Education Impasse
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 16, 2015
JUNEAU – Representative Les Gara (D-Anchorage) has filed legislation to raise education funding to account for inflation since last year’s education budget. The bill sets the base student allocation at $5,979 in FY 2016. That’s an increase of $149, which is the amount the non-partisan Legislative Research Division says is needed to inflation proof education funding from last year.
“There shouldn’t be separate Republican and Democratic education plan,” said Rep. Gara. “We should agree on a plan that protects academic opportunities and avoids cuts to schools in Juneau, Fairbanks, Mat-Su and other areas. This bill does that.”
Rep. Gara’s legislation seeks to stabilize future education spending by linking increases in the BSA to inflation. The Legislative Research report shows that the BSA would have to be increased more if the $32 million promised as grant funds in last year’s education bill is cut. The bill ensures education is inflation proofed if any of that promised $32 million is cut.
“Public education is an investment in our states future,” said Alaska Independent Democratic Coalition leader Rep. Chris Tuck (D-Anchorage). “Whether or not you have children in school we all rely on a strong public education system. After all, when you call 911 it’s someone’s child that comes to your rescue and when you need an electrician that is also someone’s son or daughter. Education lays the foundation for a good life and our children deserve the best Alaska can provide.”
The legislation to increase the BSA and tie future increases to inflation will be read across the House Floor on Thursday. The goal is to give the Legislature a bill that resolves the current gulf between legislators on education funding.