Juneau, Alaska (KINY) A measure to increase the base student allocation by $100 has passed the Alaska House Finance Committee.
School administrators from across the state testified this week about the need to increase education funding. Under terms of the bill the base student allocation would increase by $100 to $6,030 per student.
This would vary from district to district, with some rural schools receiving more than $100 per student.
Bill sponsor State Rep. Les Gara said a lack of adequate funding demoralizes teachers and adequate funding demoralizes parents, "What we don't want is parents leaving the state not seeing a commitment to public education."
Gara said Juneau faced a $3.5 million deficit this year and has lost close to 100 positions.
Superintendent of the Craig School District Jack Walsh said they have had budget cuts and rising costs on utilities and health care, "Our challenges aren't the same as larger districts. My health insurance rates are going up between 8-11 percent, that will complicate things for us. We have utility costs like everybody else that rise regularly."
Juneau resident Sean Egan says class sizes are large in subjects like English, he says technical programs are also important, "I guess the districts could eliminate metal shops and other shops but if we want to build a liquid natural gas pipeline, I want Alaska kids to do that welding. We need jobs, we can't eliminate that type of class."