A blank-check, forward-funding amendment in the education budget was the hot topic of debate in the House of Representatives during the Thursday floor session.
The measure, HB 169, passed the House, with 14 of the more conservative members voting against it, mainly because of the forward-funding ambush they didn’t have a chance to consider in committee.
The amendment with the forward-funding for education that had been passed in the House the day prior was offered by Rep. Sara Rasmussen. It bypassed review by the Finance Committee, had no public input, and no actual amount was given about how much the State would pay forward for the 2023 school year. The amendment says the state will pay whatever the Base Student Allocation says must be paid.
Enrollment in Alaska schools is down dramatically. One out of every five Alaska students is now studying through correspondence, not even attending local schools. The Legislature has not surveyed school districts to find out how much money they have in reserve for their dramatically reduced student count.
The cost of education in Alaska is about $1.2 billion a year of state funds.