SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Inequities in the current system of funding our K-12 schools
By Gary Wilken


May 06, 2011
Friday PM

I am writing to express my appreciation for the outstanding effort of a group of Ketchikan High students in producing a YouTube video describing the inequities in the current system of funding our K-12 schools.  Led by Mr. Sean Powell, teacher, these students ably tackled a complicated provision of our Foundation Formula.  This provision penalizes Alaskans living in "Organized Alaska" (i.e. boroughs) by requiring a local contribution to their schools while those in "Unorganized Alaska" are required to pay none, regardless of ability to pay.  In the video, which I encourage all taxpayers across the state to watch the students scratch their collective heads and ask "Why?".

The Ketchikan Assembly has formally asked the same question on the same topic.  I'm sure they, like me, are smiling broadly at these young people, undoubtedly the leaders of tomorrow, as we collectively thank them for their intellect and their sense of fairness.

These outstanding students acknowledge that since 2001, the state General Fund has helped Organized Alaska (local taxpayers) in splitting 50/50 the additional cost burden imposed on local taxpayers because of increased property values which result in increasing local tax requirements.  I am heartened these student leaders will be keeping an eye on those in our legislature who would entertain removing this local assistance, yet leaving in place provisions that require zero local school support regardless of ability.  Or leaving in place a seven word provision in the current law allowing one of our boroughs, with a per capita wealth multiples greater than the average borough, to pay but a fraction (roughly 25%) of what Ketchikan and other boroughs pay to support their local schools.

Kudos to these K-Hi students led by Mr. Powell.  I say thanks, job well done to director Dorsey Winter, script writer Sullivan Barry, camerapersons Ricky Voelz and Sonja Winter, soundman Joron Whitton, editor Sierra Chandler, and cast Anna and John Moran, Maxx Kiezer, Emily Johnson, Jennifer Chaudry, Gates Failing, and Nathan Steinberg.  Keep up the good work; you earned an “A+” in my book.  We’re all looking forward to your next KU Coyote production.

Respectfully submitted,

Gary Wilken
Fairbanks Alaska

Received May 05, 2011 - Published May 06, 2011



Viewpoints - Opinion Letters:

letter Webmail Your Opinion Letter to the Editor



Note: Comments published on Viewpoints are the opinions of the writer
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.


E-mail your letters & opinions to
Your full name, city and state are required for letter publication.

SitNews ©2011
Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska