Must Read Alaska Show: Sen. Jesse Kiehl of Juneau

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By JOHN QUICK

Sen. Jesse Kiehl complimented Gov. Mike Dunleavy on his teachers’ bonus bill and thinks it is doable, if Dunleavy was open to a couple of tweaks.

The bill, a pilot program that would pay teachers bonuses of up to $15,000 a year, is something Dunleavy sees as an investment in the classrooms across Alaska. Some education leaders say they would rather have a per-student investment in the form of “base student allocation” money.

Read about the governor’s pilot program here. The bill, HB 106, is here.

Kiehl says he understands the conservatives’ perspective as it relates to more money for districts, without accompanying accountability. As an example, someone in the Juneau schools misappropriated money (and was fired subsequently).

This new episode of the Must Read Alaska Show with host John Quick features an in-depth conversation with Sen. Kiehl, shedding light on the distinctive role and experiences of representing Alaska’s capital city, Senate Seat Q, which also covers the northern half of Southeast Alaska, including communities of Haines, Gustavus, Klukwan, and Skagway.

Kiehl discusses the unique challenges and advantages of serving in a location only accessible by air and sea, emphasizing the importance of the Alaska Marine Highway for connectivity.

Sen. Kiehl outlines his key objectives for the legislative session, and elaborates on the urgency of enhancing Alaska’s energy infrastructure. The conversation also covers Juneau’s path to tourism resurgence post-pandemic, particularly the impact of the absence and return of cruise ships on the local economy.

This dialogue offers a look into Sen. Kiehl’s legislative priorities, the intricacies of governing Alaska’s capital, and the broader implications for the state’s future.

You can also listen to this episode on iTunes or wherever you pick up your podcasts.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Well well, if this ain’t one dumb idea, but a perfect Union a$$kissing deal.

    Rural Alaska found the solution without drawing down the budget. Not one single penny that would be stolen from what’s left of the PFD, which is desperately needed by the very folks they’re hoping to get teachers to serve.

    Instead of looking through an opiate pipe haze, look at the solution from the rural perspective. First $15K is drain on the budget. It’s taxable. It won’t get young teachers to stay in a cultural collision, encountered as life in a remote village.

    We’re 450 miles from the road system and I talk to these young folks, occasionally old folks to. Just this last week I talked to a bunch of teachers and they just laughed at the idea of a $15 K bonus keeping them around a second longer than the day after school gets out. Face it they’re young people with dreams that have been living a one year adventure, minus their freedom to drive their car to the mall, go dancing, drink a beer or even date within the culture they grew up in. They ain’t sticking around, period.

    So here’s the solution for the Bush, which has the hardest retention problem. First bag the defined benefit boondoggle and substitute an increase to 12% Defined Contribution. They love the idea of being able to take what they made with them. They don’t have to stick around for a career too get vested and they definitely don’t want the Union or State defaulting on their pension plan.

    Then the one they really love is having the School District house them, just like remote military workers, which saves them 1000-1200 a month. Again this is tax free and it’s a thousand a month from their pay checks they can save or pay off student debt. Again, this doesn’t come out of the budget. We the taxpayers built the housing, not the district, which begs the question of why are they all of a sudden in the reality market? The district breaks even without the rent by not paying for moving costs, outside recruitment costs and bonus that won’t keep anyone around.
    It’s win win.

    The other reason we don’t need to worry about filling slots is that we have 75 green card slots, open for five years and they fill as fast as a slot becomes open for the Lower Kuskokwmin School District. Same as every other rural district. Trust me, a lot of these young folks will get married and be here for retirement and citizenship. What they will not do is join the Union… See why the Union doesn’t want common sense solutions???

    It’s not just an Alaskan thing having teacher and labor shortages. Using common sense will fill our gaps. Whereas throwing money helter skelter, won’t solve a single problem, no matter how much the Administrators and Unions lie to you.

    P. S. Governor, this is one of the ways to go about saving money, fixing a problem and keeping the money for a Full PFD, which you put in the budget.

  2. I get enough of him already. No need to hear him spin on a podcast.

    It’s telling he supports the Dunleavy education “plan”.

  3. I totally agree with the governor by not wanting to continue throwing money at the administration to fix our education problems. They have repeatedly failed to improve our education system to meet the basic objective of improving our children’s education. Instead, they have politicized our school systems while ignoring the fact that we have the lowest scores in the nation in basic education without offering any meaningful solutions. Certainly, if there was a way to improve education, it would be through the teachers themselves. They don’t seem to have benefited from the pay increases directed to the administration in any great way. Much like the underpaid help that the districts use to do the actual work that they themselves do not wish to do themselves. And once again, when they want more funding, they threaten to cut the few programs that are actually helping to drive their point, even though these programs represent only a fraction of the spending. To watch this cycle year after year is disheartening to say the least. Our local media feeds on this poison and fails to report what is really going on, so it will continue. Yesterday, I tried to watch the PBS broadcast coverage of the governor’s speech and media discussion with lousy sound and no closed captioning and was able to make out enough to determine that the governor is on the right track. He needs our support on this one.

  4. Alaska doesn’t have the money. See! What I tell John Quick been jumping in on the Left side of the pool with his hair brain idea Mrak listeners need to listen to the dumb leftists ideas throwing this state and country over the cliff. No. We don’t need ti give them any more new airwaves.

  5. Throwing more money at our schools has given the same result as more money for the homeless, more money for climate change, more money to promote Electric vehicles, etc. Absolutely nothing has changed. Ridiculous!

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