Juneau, Alaska (KINY)- Juneau School District Superintendent Dr. Bridget Weiss talked to the House Ways and Means Committee Thursday on the need to inflation proof the state's budget for education.
"It really is time I think for our state to come together and demand appropriate funding for our children so that superintendents and principals and teachers don't have to come every year what feels like begging four what our families and really just the meal that we should put on the table for our children."
The state's base student allocation of $5,930 has not increased since 2017. In 2017 she said a 24 pack of crayons cost 40 cents. Today it costs $2.79. A ream of paper costs $2.97 in 2011, but now costs $13.69. A pack of 12 pencils that cost 47 cents now costs $4.19. "These are real costs that happen, every single supply that we use and that is what we're facing," she said.
Also testifying on the need to inflation proof the state's education budget was Lon Garrison, the executive director of the Association of Alaska School Boards. "The highly uncertain nature of annual appropriations for education funding as part of the state's general fund budget and potential executive vetoes continually creates uncertainty that makes it difficult to sustain a maintenance of effort in an effective and efficient manner. Time and again boards and superintendents must make hard choices that may result in the reduction of staff or the elimination of programs and services which can negatively impact student achievement."
Garrison added that the ten-year plan for education recently presented by Governor Dunleavy is what he called a "minimalist approach." He said it substantially ignores increased costs which are inevitable.