SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions


By Lisa Parady


May 20, 2015
Wednesday PM

Juneau and Fairbanks are amongst the municipalities that have voted to increase education funding in light of the gap created by the state legislature. Cities and boroughs can’t do it alone, however. The Legislature should fulfill its commitments, since education is both a constitutional duty and, as schools educate the vast majority of the children in the state, the best place to invest limited funds. In doing its part – by restoring the formula cuts – the legislature can give schools and school boards the time needed to sort out sensible options for the future. Finally, it should be noted that it is unusually underhanded to cut school funding while simultaneously draining forward funding for schools, effectively shorting schools today while taking school dollars for tomorrow to fund other government activities.

The Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly increased the local contribution to public education by almost $5.5 million over what was provided for the current school year, but this increase is still well short of the roughly $12 million budget in budget cuts brought on by reductions from the Alaska Legislature.

The City and Borough of Juneau Assembly voted to fund the FY16 budget to the cap and to retroactively add funding for FY15 to meet last year’s cap. The Mat Su City Assembly passed $1.35 million increase in education funding. Sitka is planning to increase the seasonal sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent in order to add an estimated $1.1 million back to the local school budgets.

Not all school districts receive funding from resources outside of state funding. For example, Kuspuk School District as a Rural Education Attendance Area will not have another entity to step up and fill the gap created by the legislature. There will be no one “saving” these rural districts from the funding shortfall if the legislature doesn’t restore the funding as promised.

Lisa Parady, J.D., Ed.D.
Executive Director
Alaska Council of School Administrators
Juneau, Alaska

About: As a non-profit established in 1973, the Alaska Council of School Administrators (ACSA) has a unifying purpose to support educational leaders, provide a voice that champions possibilities for all students, and engage in purposeful advocacy for public education. ACSA is comprised of professional educational leaders of Alaska’s schools and school systems. Members include superintendents and other central office administrators, university professors, elementary and secondary principals, and school business officials. ACSA takes a lead role in supporting and advocating for public education. For more information about ACSA’s mission to support K-12 education across Alaska go to


Received May 18, 2015 - Published May 20, 2015


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