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Education Committee Moves Bill to Boost Alaska’s Boarding Schools

Senate Bill 47 removes sunset provisions and expands residential education programs

JUNEAU-Today, the Senate Education Committee advanced legislation to help Alaska’s boarding schools expand and succeed.  Senate Bill 47, sponsored by Senator John Coghill, R-North Pole, removes sunset provisions for providing stipends to state funded boarding schools as well as expanding the program to boarding schools started after 2005 and magnet schools for shorter periods of training.

“This bill will help rural students attend schools which offer classes, vocational training and extracurricular activities currently unavailable in their hometowns as an incentive to staying in high school and graduate,” said Senator Coghill.  “In addition, the only way many of these students can take the courses required for college is by going to one of these boarding schools.”  

The stipends helps school districts cover monthly costs of residential care, including meals, 24/7 supervision, and round trip transportation to and from the school once a year.

“Many of these students could very well have dropped out.  Instead, they found their niche in life at these boarding schools,” said Senator Coghill.  “Most of them graduated high school with a clear picture of what they wanted to do and they attended college, got further vocational training, or joined the armed forces.”

Senator Coghill first spearheaded efforts for the stipends back in 2005, when he introduced and the Legislature passed a bill expanding the stipend program to all students who wished to attend a boarding school instead of just those students who did not have a high school in their community. 

“Boarding schools give students from our smaller communities a bigger avenue for success,” said Senator Coghill.  “This bill ensures that success will continue well into the future.”

Senate Bill 47 now heads to the Senate Finance Committee for further consideration.

For more information, please call Rynnieva Moss in Senator Coghill’s office at (907) 465-3719.

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