Governor and Some Legislators at Odds Over School Energy Funding
Governor adds one-time funding to help energy bills; Democrats say it’s not enough
JUNEAU - William Tyson Elementary School is just one school doing its part to cut down on energy costs.
“We’re all working hard to reduce those costs to efficiencies and monitoring them, but because of inflation, we aren't able to keep up with that,” said Carol Comeau, superintendent for the Anchorage School District.
The Anchorage School District estimates that it will spend $14,190,000 in energy costs for 2012.
Some of that money comes from the state, which allocates $20 million in K-12 funding for transportation and energy costs. That does not take into account inflation.
“If our bills are higher than we expected then we're going to have to take it out of the instructional program,” said Comeau.
To help, Governor Sean Parnell wants to add an additional $10 million on top of the $20 million already in the budget for 2013.
“This is one-time funding again, and certainly it will actually help next year; don't misunderstand me but we'll be right back to where we are this year, and not knowing where our funding is going to be,” Comeau said.
Representative Les Gara, a Democrat from Anchorage, says this increase is not enough to help with rising costs across the state.
“Just to keep the same level of program as last year, you need about a three or four percent increase, the governor is offering a less than a one percent increase,” he said.
KTVA attempted to contact Governor Parnell this afternoon about the concerns, and were told he was not available because he was travelling.
The added amendment will be heard as part of the operating budget. It’s expected to be passed out of the House Finance Committee in the coming weeks.