• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 18s

Grassroots group pushes to increase education funding from Capitol

By Rhonda McBride 8:14 PM March 26, 2014

Great Alaska Schools has 1,000 members fighting for school funding

JUNEAU – A grassroots group called Great Alaska Schools now counts 1,000 parents as members. Many represent PTAs and other school groups.

The group formed only seven weeks ago to fight for more education funding.

This week, members are in Juneau. Their goal: To meet with each and every lawmaker.

“We feel like every voice matters,” said Alyse Galvin, who has four children attending school in the Anchorage School District.

Great Alaska Schools is asking the Legislature to increase the Base Student Allocation, the annual amount the state pays for each student, by $400 next year — with a $125 dollar increase for the following year and the year after.

They want lawmakers to tap state budget reserves, which hold about $17 billion.

“The budget reserve was put in place specifically for lean times to fund priorities,” said Alison Arians, who also has children in the ASD. “We really just think education should be a number one priority.”

House Speaker Mike Chenault believes lawmakers will likely increase the BSA.

“At the end of the day, there will be more money put into the education system,” Chenault said. “Now what that looks like yet, or how it comes together – we’re still working on that.”

Chenault said lawmakers have increased overall education spending every year, and it’s never enough.

“If somebody said that, ‘If you just give us this amount of money, we’ll never come back,’ they’ll be back the following year because prices have went up,” Chenault said.

Chenault also said there are many demands on the budget reserve besides education.

“As long as there’s money in an account somewhere, they’ll sure help you spend it,” Chenault said. “The problem is once those funds are gone, how do you continue to fund the programs they’ve asked for.”

The state has a $2 billion revenue shortfall, so House and Senate majority leaders are pushing for cuts this year to avoid using money from the state’s savings.

The House passed an operating budget just over $9 billion dollars but did not include education in the package. It’s now up to the House and Senate Finance Committees to address education spending.

Longtime political observers predict that education spending won’t be resolved until the final days of the session.

The Great Alaska Schools group believes it has momentum. It’s collecting signatures for a petition calling for the increases. On its website, supporters can also send public opinion messages to lawmakers.

“We have a little bit of work to do to help them appreciate that there is enough money. And this is the top priority for our families in Alaska,” Galvin said. “And really it’s our economic engines, our kids.”

Editor’s note: This story will be expanded.

Latest Stories

  • News

    Olympian Alev Kelter to speak at Alaska Women’s Summit

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Oct 25, 15:31

    Olympian Alev Kelter is back home in Alaska. She competed in the 2016 summer Olympic Games in Brazil on the women’s rugby team. Emily Carlson sat down with her to discuss her experience in Rio de Janeiro and what’s next for the Alaska athlete. Both Carlson and Kelter will be speaking at the 2016 Alaska […]

  • News

    National Guard seeks Alaska Natives with subsistence skills

    by Adrian Wagner/KYUK on Oct 25, 14:49

    This story originated from KYUK Public Media and was republished with permission. BETHEL — The Army National Guard has announced the start of a three-year pilot program that gives waivers to Alaska Natives who might be trying to join the Guard, but face barriers to qualification. Some of these potential recruits have the very skills the military […]

  • Politics

    Alaska governor puts pension bond plan on hold

    by KTVA / AP on Oct 25, 14:35

    Gov. Bill Walker says the state will not proceed with plans to sell bonds to help pay for Alaska’s pension obligations at this time, citing lack of support from Senate lawmakers. In a statement Tuesday, Walker said administration officials discussed the proposal with the Senate Finance Committee but did not get buy-in for the idea. […]

  • DayBreak

    Recipe Box: Apple Doughnuts

    by Sierra Starks on Oct 25, 13:02

    The doughnut — in all its glory of icings, toppings and drizzles — is a breakfast staple. But Anchorage mom and blogger Lesleigh Frank recently took it one step further for her daughter’s third birthday. “I made pumpkin donuts and stacked them up on a big cake plate and then covered it in cream cheese frosting,” […]

  • News

    UN expert: Junk food is a human rights concern

    by Associated Press on Oct 25, 12:52

    UNITED NATIONS (AP) – A U.N. expert says junk food is a human rights concern. Hilal Elver said Tuesday the rise of industrial food production combined with trade liberalization has allowed large corporations to flood the global market with cheap, nutrient-poor foods that force poor people to choose between economic viability and nutrition, effectively violating […]

  • Cancer Bites: Helping cancer patients get the nutrition they need

    by Daybreak Staff on Oct 25, 10:58

    One of the biggest struggles for cancer patients is finding an appetite, as many patients just aren’t hungry. Starting this week, a free cooking series called Cancer Bites kicks off in an effort to help patients get the nutrition and strength they need to battle cancer. It’s being put on by Anchorage and Valley Radiation Therapy Centers. […]

  • News

    Anchorage police respond to vehicle versus pedestrian hit-and-run

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Oct 25, 9:13

    The Anchorage Police Department (APD) is asking for help locating the driver of a sedan involved in a midtown Anchorage hit-and-run. According to APD, the collision was reported at 8:53 a.m., at A Street and Benson Boulevard. The vehicle ran a red light and struck the pedestrian, who had the right of way, police said. […]

  • APD: Robbers hit 2 Holiday Gas Stations

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Oct 25, 7:50

    Two early morning robberies at Anchorage Holiday Gas Stations are under investigation. The first robbery took place a 5:30 a.m. Tuesday at a gas station on Huffman Road, according to a release from the Anchorage Police Department (APD). Police were told two armed males, wearing black clothing and masks, entered the store with guns and demanded money, […]