For Immediate Release: March 28th, 2014
Senator Congratulates Alaskan Parents, Students, and Teachers
Senate Fin. Committee amendment proposes $100 million in additional funding for FY 2015 and 2016
JUNEAU – Senate Democrats applauded the efforts of Alaskan teachers, students, and families who called, emailed, rallied, and visited Juneau to communicate the need for adequate education funding to legislators. Today the Senate Finance Committee adopted an amendment to the operating budget calling for an addition of $100 million to the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development in both fiscal year 2015 and 2016.
“I’m so happy to see the effect of citizen activism. This increase in funding is a result of groups of concerned Alaskans rallying around public education. Great Alaska School and Students with a Voice have done so much to move the dialogue forward in the building,” stated Senator Berta Gardner (D-Anchorage).
While the increase in funding is significant, problems still remain. Schools will receive this money, $100 million in total, distributed by average daily membership each for the next two years. The Base Student Allocation, or the funds that go directly towards the in-classroom experience, hasn’t been increased in four years. Led by Senator Gardner (D-Anchorage), Senate Democrats have supported a “404 + inflation” adjustment to the base student allocation.
“Make no mistake, the fight is not over and we all must remain vigilant. We will continue to battle for the BSA increase Alaskan students so desperately need after years of flat funding, but this additional money today is an amazing step forward,” said Senator Gardner.
The process is long from over, however. While the Senate has recommended inclusion of the appropriation in their version of the operating budget, the House still needs to take up the changes. The final version of the bill will be decided through a conference committee and final approval by the Governor.
“I’m calling on all Alaska parents, students, and teachers: don’t relax yet. Keep up the effort,” stated Senator Gardner.
While Senate Democrats see today’s news as a step in the right direction, they acknowledge that there is still more work to do.
“Schools need to know that funds are available. We’ll keep pushing to see this money put in the base so that schools can plan for the future,” said Senator Gardner.
For more information, contact Senator Gardner at (907) 465-4930.