FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 14, 2018
House Votes to Increase Education Support to Prevent Harmful Cuts to Student Success
HB 339 Increases the Base Student Allocation to Avoid Continued Teacher Losses
Juneau – Today, the Alaska House of Representatives passed legislation to increase the base student allocation (BSA) given to school districts in Alaska. Currently, the BSA is $5,930 per student. House Bill 339 increases the BSA by $100 up to $6,030.
“Nearly every school district in Alaska is struggling to do more with less. Without help, students will lose more teachers and lose more opportunity,” said House Bill 339 sponsor Rep. Les Gara (D-Anchorage). “We have heard from teachers with growing class sizes, students who deserve the right to achieve, and parents considering leaving Alaska due to real concerns about Alaska’s commitment to public education. Today’s vote shows that education is indeed a top priority.”
In recent years, the loss of anticipated funding increases and continued flat funding has forced school districts to eliminate well over 700 teachers and support staff. The Anchorage School District has cut nearly 400 jobs, the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District has cut 231 jobs, and the Juneau School District has cut 92 jobs. Without a boost in school support, school officials project major teacher cuts next year.
“Every day I hear from Alaskans concerned about the future. They see teachers leaving for better paying and more stable opportunities elsewhere. They see schools with fewer classes but more students in those classes. And, frankly, they see many of their elected representatives in Juneau unwilling to make the necessary decisions to ensure the next generation of Alaskans have the knowledge and skills they need to succeed. I am proud to say that today a majority of the members of the Alaska House stood up for kids, parents, and teachers with their vote in favor of House Bill 339,” said Rep. Harriet Drummond (D-Anchorage), HB 339 co-sponsor and Chair of the House Education Committee.
Several statewide organizations and school districts from across Alaska have come out in support of a $100 increase to the BSA.
House Bill 339 passed the Alaska House of Representatives today by a vote of 22-18. After a reconsideration vote, the bill will be sent to the Alaska State Senate for consideration.
For more information, please contact Alaska House Majority Coalition Press Secretary Mike Mason at (907) 444-0889.