School Term, and Rural Bulk Fuel Loan Program
June 05, 2004
HB 556, by the House State Affairs committee, gives the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA) the authorization to issue up to $20 million in debt for facilities to support the development of the Kensington mine near Juneau. The tax-exempt bonds will help reduce construction costs of a port development project located at Slate Creek Cove and Cascade Point on Lynn Canal. Production at the mine is projected to be Feb. 2006, creating 300 high paying jobs, providing $7.5 million in local construction purchases, and providing $16 million in payroll and benefits to the local economy. State law requires legislative approval for all AIDEA debt issued over $10 million.
SB 239, by Sen. Fred Dyson, gives school districts additional flexibility to meet the minimum requirements of a school term. Current law requires a school term to be no less than 180 days unless the commissioner finds that a school board has submitted a plan that would provide an equivalent education in not less than 170 days. The bill amends the 170-day exemption and replaces it with 740 hours of instruction for kindergarten, first and second grades, and 900 hours of instruction for 3rd through 12th grades. The intent of the bill is to allow new flexibility to be used to develop innovative programs that are designed to improve the value of instruction.
SB 377, introduced at the request
of the Department of Community and Economic Development, amends
the Bulk Fuel Revolving Loan Fund program by authorizing loans
to other entities such as corporations, cooperatives and joint
ventures. Currently, a cooperative that is interested in purchasing
bulk fuel for the benefit of a rural community is not eligible
to use this program (only individuals). The bill also amends
the Power Project Fund program by expanding the definition of
what a power project is to include energy efficiency projects.
The bill makes state statutes consistent with federal and state
appropriations for this purpose. The bill also extends the current
tax credit for ethanol fuels derived from wood and seafood wasted
until 2009, a provision that will allow a continuing opportunity
for innovative uses of waste-to-energy for Alaska products.
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