Senators Joe Paskvan, Dennis Egan, and Gary Stevens during the closeout hearing of the Senate Finance DEED Subcommittee, March 20, 2012
This blog contains highlights from the Alaska Education Update. The update is issued daily during session and contains detailed summaries of education issues under consideration by the Alaska State Legislature. If there is a hearing on a Monday, a report will, with few exceptions, be released by Tuesday morning. There is also a weekly edition of the update. During interim, reports are issued only when there has been action. Interim action may include hearings, bill signings, the release of the Governor's proposed budget for the next fiscal year, and other items that may be of interest to the education community.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I will have something to keep me busy this interim.

HCS CSSB 221(FIN) passed the House by a vote of 36 yeas and 4 nays. Voting against the bill were Reps. Doogan, Neuman, Salmon, and Thomas. The Senate later concurred with the House changes to the bill by a vote of 16 yeas, 4 nays. Voting nay were Sens. Bunde, Coghill, Dyson, and Wagoner.

HCS CSSB 221(FIN) includes.....
• A merit scholarship component similar to the Governor’s Performance Scholarship proposal,
• A provision for school district determination for merit scholarships,
• Authority for the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education to adopt regulations relating to the merit scholarship program,
• Increases in the amount available through the AlaskAdvantage Grant Program for students with unmet need from a maximum of $2,000 per year to a maximum of $3,000 per year, and increases in the amount of aid allowed over four years from $8,000 to $12,000,
• Additional funding for the education of a limited number dentists, optometrists, and pharmacists participating in WICHE,
• Establishment of the Joint Legislative Higher Education Scholarship Funding Task Force, and
• Establishment of the Advisory Task Force on Higher Education & Career Readiness.

The sections relating to the merit scholarship program are delayed a year in order to give the Dept. of Education & Early Development the chance to figure out how to structure it, and to give the task forces time to look at the issues.

Rep. Gara offered an amendment on the House floor that the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education shall distribute not less than $3,000,000 for needs-based financial aid. The amendment failed by a vote of 14 yeas, 26 nays. The argument against the amendment was that the task forces established by SB 221 are going to look at funding for merit and needs-based aid, so it would be premature to address it at this point.

A link to the bill:
http://www.legis.state.ak.us/basis/get_bill.asp?bill=SB%20221&session=26

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