• 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

  • Crime

    Police: Man shot, hospitalized, no suspect in custody

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jun 26, 15:42

    Last updated at 4:02 p.m. on Sunday, June 26 A man was taken to an Anchorage hospital after a shooting at Arctic/Benson Park Sunday afternoon, police said. In an email to KTVA, police spokeswoman Renee Oistad said the shooting was reported at 2:27 p.m. When police arrived at the park, located at 750 W 31st […]

  • News

    Pope Francis says gays deserve apology from the Church

    by CBS News on Jun 26, 13:45

    ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE – Pope Francis says gays — and all the other people the church has marginalized, such as the poor and the exploited — deserve an apology. Francis was asked Sunday en route home from Armenia if he agreed with one of his top advisers, German Cardinal Karl Marx, who told a conference […]

  • News

    APD concerned for well-being of 15-year-old missing since Friday

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jun 26, 11:11

    The Anchorage Police Department says there is concern for the well-being of 15-year-old boy who disappeared on his way to a sleepover at a friend’s home Friday night. Francisco Mena was last seen leaving his home on Crescent Moon Place to spend the night with a friend around 10 p.m. Friday. Later, that friend arrived […]

  • Lifestyle

    Grow Palmer project brings fresh, free food to the Valley

    by Eric Ruble on Jun 26, 10:21

    Along one of Palmer’s most popular walkways, 40 giant planters are bursting with fresh flowers and vegetables. They are a new installment as part of the Grow Palmer program, an effort to bring healthy, fresh food to people for free. Now in its fourth year, it is the first time Grow Palmer has a permanent […]

  • News

    Motorcyclist killed in crash on Minnesota Drive

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jun 25, 21:09

    Last updated at 10:32 a.m. on Sunday, June 25 Anchorage police say a motorcyclist is dead after a crash on Minnesota Drive near W. 40th Avenue. Police closed all southbound lanes of Minnesota Drive at the scene of the crash, which was reported just after 8 p.m. Police have since reopened all lanes. “We received […]

  • Sports

    More than 50 mushers already signed up for Iditarod 2017

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jun 25, 20:10

    The Iditarod Trail Committee says more than 50 mushers from Alaska and around the world have already signed up for the 2017 Iditarod Sled Dog Race. Saturday was the first official entry day. Of the 52 entries, 12 of them are rookies to the Last Great Race, and 10 teams are from other nations, including […]

  • News

    U.S. Coast Guard stationed in Kotzebue for summer

    by Margaret DeMaioribus / KNOM on Jun 25, 16:46

    The U.S. Coast Guard is setting up for activities in Kotzebue this summer and summers to come. The Coast Guard signed a five-year lease with the Alaska Army National Guard facility in Kotzebue. It’s the first long-term lease for the Coast Guard above the Arctic Circle and will serve as a station for Arctic operations. U.S. […]

  • News

    Police extend presence at Alaska PrideFest following altercation downtown

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jun 25, 16:40

    Alaskans have been celebrating the 2016 Alaska PrideFest in Anchorage for a week now, but the festivities were briefly interrupted Saturday by an altercation between festivalgoers and a group of protestors. The protestors, alleging to be with Westboro Baptist Church, were congregated near the intersection of Ninth Avenue and F Street with a megaphone and […]