JUNEAU – Six years of loss, due to flat education funding and inflation, would be reversed under a series of bill introduced on the House Floor today by Rep. Andi Story to increase the per-pupil amount school districts receive from the state. The Base Student Allocation (BSA) for grades K-12 has not been increased since FY2017. In that period, Alaska has experienced a rise in inflation of 11.6%.
“When school districts lose ground financially, it hurts kids through growing class sizes and fewer critical services, such as counselors and nurses. We have a collective responsibility to families and to Alaska’s economy to ensure strong schools,” said Representative Andi Story (D-Juneau). “The best way to attract new residents, build a skilled workforce, and maintain a strong economy, is to assure Alaskans a quality education, pre-school through post-secondary.”
HB 272 would increase the BSA in FY23 and again in FY24. This allows for districts to address their operational costs and plan with some certainty to meet student needs. Currently, many districts’ budgets are due to their municipalities before they know their revenue. This would also eliminate the need to “pink slip” valuable staff.
HB 273 would add inflation proofing to the BSA formula beginning in FY25 for all years going forward. This would be based on the Consumer Price Index for Urban Alaska, ensuring that education’s growth is directly tied to Alaska’s growth.
Both bills were read across the floor today on the first day of session and were referred to the House Education and Finance committees.