House Finance Committee proposes BSA increase over three years


by Jessica Gruenling

JUNEAU, Ak-- The House Finance Committe release its rewrite of Governor Sean Parnell's education bill, whcih includes additional money fro schools across Alaska.  

After extrensive meetins and listening to parents, teachers, and community memebers who said they do not want money outside of the base student allocation, the House Finance Committe has proposed a solution. 

HB278 surpsases Governor Sean Parnell's proposed increase to the base student allocation and gives the commitment of money going forward. 

"So we rolled a 25 million dollar one time funding into the base as a 100 dollar increase to students, so moving forward they will have the assurance of the 185 dollar increase the first year, 243 dollars from this year to the second and then a 301 dollar increase to the third, so for the next three years they will see that increase in the base student allocation," Representative Mia Costello.

In addition to the BSA increase the have adjusted the student count component in the foundation formula. 

"Ror schools larger than 250 students that number was adjusted downward, so students in Alaska were counted as .84 of a student in terms of the bsa so that number was multiplied by the BSA amount," Representative Costello. 

So now the question is, how woudl this adjustment affect schools. 

"I mean in Anchorage they are talking about cutting 200 teachers, so this change in the formula would be additional money in the formula to the tune of 13.7 million dollars. And that will affect 80 percent of the students in the state," Representative Costello

Representative Costello says that the process isn't over yet, but she's encouraged by the movement and major steps forward with this bill. 

"When you start seeing districts across the state cutting into the teacher pool that is something the community has said they don't support what so ever, so by addressing it through the base student allocation and that's a commitment going forward that the legislature would be funding in the classroom," Representative Costello.

From here the bill will go out of the House to the Rules Comittee, the House floor, and the Senate.

But first Legislators will have to consider what Senators are bringing to the table, that group also presented a suggestion. 

"The Senate has just suggested 75 million additional money plus a 25 million one time for a 100 million dollar infusion in to education, which translates to a 400 dollar BSA increase, but there's not commitment moving forward," Representative Costello.

Reprentative Costello says the question now becomes how do we address the two different solutions, but it still remains to be seen if the senate is going to give a plan that's different than just a one time infusion.