Omnibus education funding bill set for House floor debate, amendments, vote on Monday

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Senate Bill 140, a bill that has various funding components for Alaska school districts, is on the calendar for the Alaska House on Monday when the House gavels in at 11 am.

It started out last year as a bill sponsored by Sen. Lyman Hoffman to bring more broadband to rural Alaska districts through a grant program that had matching state and federal monies. It would benefit not only rural villages but Quintillion, the company bringing fiber optic cable connectivity to much of the Arctic, even though Starlink would be vastly cheaper.

Through time, the bill has been added to and debated, and now contains pay incentives for teachers, and an addition to the base student allocation, sometimes called the BSA. The BSA is the permanent funding formula that is calculated on a per-student basis.

Also in the bill is an increase in correspondence school funding and the governor’s plan to pay teacher bonuses that would be between $5,000 to $15,000, something that is outside the BSA.

The amount that the BSA would be increased could be $300 per student, or could be over $1,400 per student, but it looks like most in the House will settle in the $600 range. More changes to the bill are expected on the House floor, as several dozen amendments are predicted to be in the works. The total cost of SB 140 could be substantial, as this fiscal summary from January shows (in thousands):

State education officials, teachers’ unions, and Democrat lawmakers are arguing for a $1,413 BSA and they are expected to put up a fight for more money. The bill will have to go back to the Senate if it passes the House, due to the many changes, and the Senate is likely to have its own ideas; these differences are typically sorted out in a conference committee between the two sides to reach a compromise.

18 COMMENTS

  1. Drop all this gender change abuse of our children in the one world order Davos woke agenda to diminish the American population. Pay for it yourself weirdos if you want it for your children. Alaskans don’t. Also you should be in jail for proposing it. And defending it.

  2. Remember how NEA Alaska determines its union dues ( % of average teacher base salary) and you understand why they are against bonus pay to teachers.

    • You are 100% correct. Follow the $$$. When it comes to Unions that’s all that matters. They don’t care about educating children, just getting more $$$

  3. It will be interesting to see how the budget turns out with reduced Permanent Fund Earnings availability, 5% draw from the PFE account for general government, inflationary pressures on budget, and the traditional Alaskan effort to bankrupt the State with excessive Dividends. LOL
    As bad as we are, we are still somewhat solvent compared to the federal budget. The old rules about limiting the debt to a certain percentage of GDP seem to be out the window. The only real strategy seems to be to inflate the debt away to steal your savings a little at a time without you realizing it.

    • The PFD is not the State’s money Chris – they’re stealing it. There is no such thing as “excessive Dividends” – because that is what the Law requires to be paid out of the earnings on the people’s money.

      • That’s funny – the dividend check I get every year has “State of Alaska” printed at the top.
        Many people are confused and think that the “State” and the “people” are two different things.

  4. All I can say is this bill has had way too much money for educators and $600 for BSA is ridiculous They did get an increase last year even though smaller than educators wanted. I cannot believe House Republicans are allowing this to happen. I assure you it will be hard for me to support anyone that supports $600 plus increase in BSA. This is a joke. There is nothing on attendance and the “audits” are a joke! Please call Republicans and tell them to hold the line! Several think they can’t get re-elected without it. I say, do you really think a NEA educator is going to vote for you? Well go ahead because you are losing your base!

  5. When my kids left home, my taxes increased because I had no dependents.
    When the enrollment goes down, schools need more money. How does that work?
    I wouldn’t give them a penny until they come up with a comprehensive plan to CUT costs. Start in administration

  6. Let’s be real. There are no minority members going to be appointed from the Senate. They don’t recognize the minority of Senators Hughes, Shower and Myers.

    So…. If it goes to arbitration, which the Senate will demand… Two house Democrats and two Republicans and four Democrats/RINOs and NO MINORITY MEMBERS. 6 Dimwits and 2 House Republicans.

    Odds are good that we’re going to get screwed again.

    Let me remind you that Hoffman is sitting in a seat illegally. He’s a resident of Anchorage, not Western Alaska.

  7. The first rule of holes is: when you find yourself in a hole – stop digging. Pouring additional money into the BSA has not fixed the problem nor is is likely to. Cut costs, close schools, reduce administrative salaries, pay teachers in the classroom more and tie any increases to performance. Stop digging

  8. Punishing Alaskan citizens by stealing their dividend is typical troll signs!🧌 Cut the massive government spending you trolls in Juneau!! 🧌
    Give our full dividend back to us!!

  9. It is time for the Legislature to vote on separate issues for all major problems facing the State. You cannot escape the inevitable that there is a divide. Rural versus Urban. The legislation can be divided per student to distinguish the differences because we are not like any other state. Any opposition can be legally defeated.

    • “It is time for the Legislature to vote on separate issues for all major problems facing the State.”
      Way Past Time for Accountability by separation of issues and Individual Representative’s votes.
      Additionally; MOVE THE LEGISLATURE TO ANCHORAGE IMMEDIATELY!
      Immeasurable Benefits would begin with:
      * ALASKA CITIZENS attending floor sessions and making direct impacts;
      * Holding INDIVIDUAL LEGISLATOR’s directly accountable on cast votes;
      * Access and public participation by ALASKA CITIZENS would likely increase by orders of magnitude;
      * Inhibiting or preventing a “Binding Caucus” where ELECTED REPUBLICAN REPRESENTATIVES betray the
      ALASKA REPUBLICAN PARTY PLATFORM revised in 2022!

      Reduce the “Alaska Education Industry” until ALASKA EDUCATOR’s and the system they work in can produce student outcomes not ranked the 49th worst in the United States!

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