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Democrats: State Must Do More to Avoid School Cuts

Governor’s budgets allow inflation to undercut Alaska’s schools

JUNEAU – Today, Anchorage Democratic legislators warned that the governor’s proposed budget will lead to even more school cuts in coming years, and they called on the Legislature to make sure school resources at least keep up with inflation.

Two of the legislators, Rep. Chris Tuck and Rep. Harriet Drummond, are former school board members who know the school budgeting process well.

“The governor wants to require more from our students before getting our schools what they need, but he’s willing to give the oil industry billions in tax breaks for nothing,” said Rep. Tuck. “The thing is, our schools have been improving, but he’s still holding back. Imagine what our schools can accomplish once they get the resources they need.”

“I share the governor’s goal of a ninety percent graduation rate, but it’s going to take more than just words to get us there,” said Rep. Drummond. “The schools have already cut to the bone. They need to be able to count on having the resources they need from the state so they can focus on building on their successes, not on finding more places to cut.”

“Last year Anchorage was forced to eliminate summer school. This year it’s support staff. With consistently declining support, the next step will be teachers,” said Rep. Gara who has worked on the House Finance Committee prevent school cuts. “The State has allowed inflation to eat into school resources creating roadblocks to student achievement when we should be improving it.”

House Democratic legislators are preparing legislation that would protect the money Alaska’s schools can count on each year from the effects of inflation. The legislation will be targeted at retaining quality teachers and providing school districts a reliable funding support from one year to the next.

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