Education Proposal Unveiled
December 10, 2007
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
"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
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.
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