Governor Walker Signs Four Education Bills to Improve Alaska’s Schools - P.O.W. Report

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Governor Walker Signs Four Education Bills to Improve Alaska’s Schools

Retire, Rehire and new funding are back-to-school gifts for Alaska’s districts

AUGUST 10, 2018 FAIRBANKS – Governor Walker signed four education bills into law this morning, with members of the North Star School District who gathered together to celebrate the beginning of the school year. The bills improve access to different sources of funding for rural and urban schools, including creating a PFD raffle to fund education in Alaska. They allow our school districts to rehire teachers that have retired, and help schools reduce redundancy.

HB 212, Rep. Neal Foster:

· Expands Alaska’s rural school construction fund so that major maintenance projects at existing schools can qualify for money, instead of funding only the construction of new schools.

HB 213, Sen. Click Bishop and Rep. Justin Parrish:

· Moves the Public School Trust Fund to a percent of market value approach, maximizing the fund’s ability to grow while guaranteeing the largest possible sustainable payout to education each year.

· Creates a Permanent Fund dividend raffle in which 75% of the earnings go to Alaska’s schools.

SB 185, Sen. Peter Micciche:

· Allows districts to rehire retired teachers, providing critical support in the classroom as schools with high teacher turnover rates embrace the challenge of finding permanent teachers.

SB 216, Senate Finance:

· This bill removes the immediate financial penalty for school consolidation. Schools now have a five-year grace period to adjust to the lower levels of per-student funding that come with larger student counts.

Governor Walker thanked the North Star school district and legislators who worked to find creative ways to improve funding for Alaska’s schools.

“Alaska is a resource state, and our most important resource is our children,” Governor Walker said. “The quality of education should never be determined by the price of a barrel of oil. Students, parents, and teachers can be confident that will no longer happen because we have now closed 80 percent of the budget deficit. I’m immensely grateful to those who work every day to improve education in Alaska, from the home to the House to the classroom.”

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