Opinions differ on proposed increase in education funding

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) The house education committee took over an hour of testimony on a bill that would increase the base student allocation for each student by $100 this year.

    Superintendent of Southwest Alaska schools David Piazza said he supported the increase, "The district supports measures by the legislature to secure funding earlier and at adequate levels to help local schools.  They want to plan early and effectively to meet student educational needs."

    Superintendent of the Anchorage School District Dina Bishop said state budget cuts have hurt schools in recent years, "We have fewer counselors, fewer teachers in the classroom and less investment in the 21st century of learning students need to move our state into the future."

    Others said the bill would unfairly treat smaller schools amid claims the five large schools in the state would receive more funding.

    Resident Ted Martin argued that education funding increases should be tied to school performance, "Achievement by our kids and our teachers is a D or a D minus.  I know better.  You don't reward people for failing."

    Martin said when he went to school in the 1970s he received a good education without the frills of swimming pools and the track.  "You have to tighten your belts and you have to get results from these teachers."

    Begish (Anchorage) Middle School Principal Brian Singleton of Anchorage said the budget cuts have hurt security at his campus.

    Student Caleb Scname of Juneau said he wanted the bill to pass, "If it didn't pass we would have to lose a teacher from our school.  It would make classrooms more crammed, and louder and make it harder to focus.  Also we wouldn't have as many lessons."



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