News from the Alaska State Legislature, the Office of Senator MacKinnon
For Immediate Release: April 14, 2018

Senate Advances Series of Bills to Improve Education in Alaska

MacKinnon_stamp.jpgSenator Anna MacKinnon
  ~ Send Email
  ~ Web Site

JUNEAU – In the midst of declining test scores and school enrollment, rising healthcare costs, and struggles with teacher retention and morale, the Alaska Senate today advanced a series of bills to reverse the downward trend of educational outcomes in Alaska.

“The Senate recognizes the difficulties facing Alaska’s schools,” said Sen. Anna MacKinnon (R-Eagle River). “This suite of bills will provide Alaska’s educators with funding certainty, open the door to a broader range of educational opportunities for students, and give districts additional tools they need to be successful.”  

As a centerpiece of today’s initiatives, HB 287 delivers up to two years of full funding for schools, in addition to a one-time $30 million boost, which amounts to a $117 increase to the base student allocation (BSA) in Fiscal Year 2020. The FY 2020 early education funding and one-time grant portions of the bill are contingent on the passage of SB 26, a bill to protect the use of Permanent Fund earnings and ensure a dividend. Full funding for education in FY 2019, however, is not contingent on the passage of other legislation.  

“If we stabilize Alaska’s revenue, we can provide educators with additional resources well in advance,” said Sen. Lyman Hoffman (D-Bethel). “Passage of SB 26 establishes a responsible draw from the Permanent Fund’s earnings, with protections in place to ensure every Alaskan receives a healthy dividend.”

In conjunction with HB 287, the Senate this week also passed three bills to enhance education in Alaska.

  • SB 104 proposes a pilot program to review math and English/language arts curriculum, provides incentive payments to districts that choose to adopt the new curriculum, extends the requirement for curriculum review, directs the Department of Education and Early Development and Board of Education to review curriculum from around the world and adopt best practices, and requires the board to review the curriculum every five years.
  • SB 185, by Sen. Peter Micciche (R-Soldotna), allows school districts to temporarily fill vacancies with qualified retired teachers until a permanent teacher can be hired to help school districts maintain quality education while balancing their budgets.
  • SB 216 removes a disincentive for districts to consolidate schools by establishing a funding transition for school consolidation.

While other departments have experienced cuts in recent years following a sharp decline in oil prices, K-12 education has been held harmless.

HB 287 passed the Senate by a vote of 15 to 4 and is now on its way to the Alaska House of Representatives for concurrence, while the Senate bills move to the other body for consideration.

For more information, contact Senate Majority Press Secretary Daniel McDonald at (907) 465-4066.

###

icon-facebook.png Share Share this on Twitter Tweet

News & Videos more >

Senator Peter Micciche

Bill to Reduce Regulatory Burden on Working Alaskans Becomes Law

ANCHORAGE – A bill to reduce the state’s regulatory burden on barbers, hairdressers, hair braiders and those with student loans was signed into law today by Gov. Bill Walker....  Full Story >>

Senator Pete Kelly

Senate Adjourns Sine Die

JUNEAU – The Alaska Senate today adjourned the second session of the 30th Alaska Legislature, sine die.  Full Story >>

Senator Pete Kelly

Legislature Restores Private Property Rights in Dalton Highway Corrido

JUNEAU – The Alaska Legislature today passed a bill to restore access rights to private homesteaded property owners in the James Dalton Highway corridor.  Full Story >>

Senator Anna MacKinnon

Legislature Votes to Reform School Curriculum

JUNEAU – The Alaska Legislature today passed legislation providing students across Alaska access to the best curriculum in the world.  Full Story >>

Senator Pete Kelly

Legislature Helps Deliver Natural Gas to Interior

JUNEAU – The Alaska Legislature today took another step toward clean and affordable natural gas in Fairbanks and North Pole with the passage of legislation extending the bonding...  Full Story >>

Senator Lyman Hoffman

Legislature Approves State Operating Budget

JUNEAU – The Alaska Legislature today concurred with the final version of the state operating budget for Fiscal Year 2019, totaling $3.1 billion in unrestricted general funds (UGF) for...  Full Story >>

Senator Cathy Giessel

Senate Approves Program to Pay Outstanding Tax Credit Debt

JUNEAU – The Alaska Senate today approved a program to resolve nearly $1 billion owed to small oil and gas companies and reinvigorate work in the state’s oil patch....  Full Story >>

Senator Peter Micciche

Legislature Provides School Districts with Tool to Fill Vacancies

JUNEAU – The Alaska Legislature this week passed a bill allowing school districts to temporarily fill vacancies with qualified retired teachers.  Full Story >>

Senator Peter Micciche

Legislature Supports Better Policy for Alaskans with Disabilities

JUNEAU – The Alaska Legislature this week provided Alaskans with disabilities greater flexibility to receive those services best suited for their needs instead of standard service...  Full Story >>

Senator Kevin Meyer

Senate Passes Crime Package, Votes to End 'Catch and Release'

The Alaska Senate today passed a wide-ranging crime package that provides judges and law enforcement with the tools they need to effectively fight crime.  Full Story >>

Find your Senator full map