House passes bill to provide certainty to students and teachers, keep Alaska schools open

Rep. Schrage: 'The last thing we need as students and teachers finally return to in-person instruction is additional uncertainty created by pink slips'

JUNEAU – The House of Representatives today passed a bill that secures forward funding of K-12 education.

House Bill 169 passed 26-to-14 and was supported unanimously by members of the Alaska House Coalition, as well as several members of the minority caucus. If also approved by the Senate and Gov. Mike Dunleavy, the bill will eliminate the possibility of teachers receiving pink slips this year or next.

“Alaska’s students, teachers, and parents deserve certainty that our schools will have the resources they need, year in and year out,” House Speaker Louise Stutes (R-Kodiak) said. “Forward funding of education is one of our majority’s top priorities, and today we worked across the aisle to make sure education will not be held hostage to the budget process.”

“The pandemic created historic challenges for everyone involved in Alaska’s educational system, and the last thing we need as students and teachers are finally returning to in-person instruction is additional uncertainty created by pink slips,” Rep. Calvin Schrage (I-Anchorage) said. “This bill will help open our schools and keep them open.”

“Alaska’s budget challenges are immense, and the debate over how to resolve our structural deficit continues to divide,” Rep. Kelly Merrick (R-Eagle River) said. “However, today’s vote proves there is broad agreement that we need to fulfill our constitutional obligations by investing in strong schools.”
HB 169 does not increase K-12 funding and instead simply commits to following the statutory base student allocation formula in FY2022 and FY2023. The proposal now heads to the Senate for consideration.

More from the AK House Coalition

Contact Info:
Graham Judson Press Secretary
(907) 465-5284
120 4th St, Juneau, AK 99801