As a young woman educated in rural Alaska’s public schools, I know our schools are often the heart of our communities. A thriving school environment is critical to inspiring Alaska youth to greatness and is essential to the wellness of our communities. The boom and bust of Alaska’s economy should not translate into a boom and bust education system for Alaska youth.
Flat funding education continues to passively cut resources for Alaska schools year after year. Education funding must be at the forefront of budget discussions. Alaska leaders should not balance the state’s budget on the backs of Alaska’s children.
Forward funding is critical to school districts around the state, particularly in rural Alaska. It offers certainty and clarity for what school districts can budget and what they have available in order to recruit teachers.
Increasing the Base Student Allocation
During my first session, I was proud to vote for a $100 per student increase to the Base Student Allocation. Although it didn’t pass, it led to a funding agreement to pass one-time increases to education for $20M in FY19 and $30M in FY20.
One-time increases are not ideal, but it will help us hold the line on deeper cuts as we work to find long-term, sustainable solutions in the face of an overall budget deficit.
Compacting Tribal Education
I support the efforts to expand the role of Alaska tribes in education - at both the state and federal levels. These partnerships can ensure community investment in local schools, culturally-relevant education, and may encourage federal funding.