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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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Governor Parnell Zeroes Out Funding for University of Alaska Advisory Programs, Putting Performance Scholarship Awards at Risk

On Wednesday, University of Alaska President Patrick Gamble testified at the end of the House Education Committee, telling the committee that Governor Parnell's proposed FY 13 operating budget left out ALL of the funding (every single cent, zeroed the whole program out - even funding originating from the university) for student advisory programs at the university.  

Those are the same advisory programs that post-secondary institutions will be required to have in order to accept Alaska Performance Scholarship awards if the legislation establishing a funding mechanism for the program is passed.  Both HB 104 ( and SB 43 ( require advisory programs at postsecondary institutions in order for them to accept Alaska Performance Scholarship awards.  So that legislation, if passed, will either have to have that provision removed, or funding will have to be reinstated for advisory programs at the University of Alaska in order for them to receive Alaska Performance Scholarship awards on behalf of recipients.

President Gamble also made the point during his testimony that every career he could think of starts at a higher salary than teachers, and that teacher pay is an issue they can't ignore. 

All the funding for the Institute for Social & Economic Research (ISER) was also zeroed out from the governor's proposed budget.  George Rogers is likely rolling in his grave (or was he cremated?  I don't know). 

Lots of testimony Wednesday in the Senate Finance Committee on SB 171.  Sen. Hoffman got a little testy about people discussing pink slipping.  He said he was under the impression that forward funding education would remove that issue (which it largely has).  However, as pointed out by John Alcantra, flat funding still creates pink slipping issues, due to budget deficits.  I think Hoffman would have appreciated recognition of SB 97, which establishes a fuel supplement for school districts and municipalities when fuel prices are high.  

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