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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Saturday, April 16, 2011

House is going in to session at 1:00 p.m.

The House Finance Committee just recessed, and the House is now scheduled to go in to session at 1:00 p.m.  SB 84 - Vocational Education Funding/Educational Tax Credits is the second item on the calendar. 

Legislative Action, Friday, April 15

The house passed two bills:
HB 104 – Alaska Performance Scholarships - Passed by a vote of 40 yeas

SB 1 – Board of Education & Early Development Annual Report - Passed by a vote of 39 yeas, 1 nay

The Senate Passed:
HB 15 – Student Athlete Concussions - Passed by a vote of 20 yeas

The House Education Committee heard a presentation from the Bristol Bay Borough School District and heard and held:
HB 143 – Adjust Base Student Allocation: Inflation

There is still a bottleneck right now with the senate and the house negotiating on a few issues. It appears they've got Coastal Zone Managment taken care of just now. The house was in session until late Friday night with their first supplemental calendar, passing a coastal zone management bill: HB 106 . I know that's an important issue to a lot of people.

I have been told by several legislators that there is still hope for some sort of funding increase for education. Carl Rose said in the House Education Committee Friday morning that since 1978, the money spent on education has lost 65 percent of it's value due to inflation. That's an astonishing amount of value, and it's no wonder schools are struggling. When I think back to my kindergarten days in the early 70's in Juneau, there were perhaps 14 children in my class, with both a teacher and a teacher's aide. I know kindergarten classes are up in the low 20's in many areas now.

It is up in the air when SB 46 - the capital budget and SB 97 - aid for municipalities and school districts might be heard. SB 97 has been noticed in House Finance, so they could, if they choose, bring it up at any time. SB 46 has been noticed in both the Senate and House Finance Committees, so it could be brought up at any time as well.

I have no idea whether the legislature will adjourn by Sunday evening or not. They would have to reach agreement very quickly, and suspend a Uniform Rule, so it looks unlikely.