SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Education Proposal Unveiled by Governor


December 10, 2007
Monday AM

Building on the work of the Legislature's Education Funding Task Force, and reaffirming her commitment to education, Governor Sarah Palin on Friday announced details of her three-year school funding proposal. Under the plan, the State of Alaska would invest more than $1 billion each year in public education over the next three fiscal years.

Two key components of the proposal include forward-funding and increasing the base student allocation. This will enable school districts to have the resources they need to be accountable for student success.

"I believe it is critical to shift the annual debate from how much are we going to spend on education to how we can be innovative and work to improve the outcome of our education system," said Governor Palin. "It is my hope that this proposal, which incorporates the good work of those who served on the Task Force will become one that all Alaskans can support, including the Legislature, the education community and the public at large."

The Task Force, which was chaired by Rep. Mike Hawker, concluded its work by proposing a number of changes to the school funding formula. After consulting with school administrators, teachers and school boards, Governor Palin is proposing a larger, three-year increase in the allocation.

The specifics of the three-year plan include:

  • An increase in the base student allocation by $200 per year for the next three years, up from the current $5,380 per student.
  • Increase the funding for intensive needs students to nine times the Base Student Allocation (BSA) in FY 09, 11 times the BSA in FY10, and 13 times the BSA in FY11.
  • Phase in of the district cost factors ­ 50 percent in FY 09, 62.5 percent in FY 10, and 75 percent in FY 11. The cost to educate students varies greatly from community to community and district to district. This change will implement in statute a formula to help ensure those high cost areas are not left behind.
  • Recalibrate the pupil transportation grants to more accurately reflect today's costs to transport students.

In a $7.1 billion savings plan announced on Wednesday, Governor Palin set aside more than $3 billion for education. The savings plan includes depositing $2.6 billion into the Public Education Fund and $450 million into the Teachers Retirement Account to help pay down the unfunded liability. The savings will fund the three-year plan.

The FY 09 Operating and Capital Budgets will be released for consideration by the Legislature this week.


Source of News:

Office of the Governor


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Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska