Education bill update


by Jessica Gruenling

JUNEAU, Ak-- It's day 94 and lawmakers may be neering the end.

Last night, the conference committee of house and senate members reached a compromise on the controversial education bill.

The education bill will add 300 million dollars to the budget spread out over three years.

The proposal lays out as follows:

I'ts a 75 million dollar increase over the current year spending divided into the base student allocation and one-time grants for education programs.

The new draft bill will raise the BSA by 150 dollars for the first year and 50 dollars for years two and three.

With the one time increment funding to the base student allocation it will be a 225 dollar incrase for the current year.

"What we're being told by the school districts is this is not going to be enough to stave off teachers layoffs this year, which was a concern because that means an increase in class size. That means a challenge or more difficulty in trying to make sure we have effective delivery of our educational program to the students, so there are concerns about the loss of teachers, it's not as bad as it was one we started, but it definitely not where we would have like to have seen it," Representative Sam Kito III.

This funding plan does not meet the demans of education advocate who were asking for a 400 dollar increase to the student base allocation.

But Representative Kito says atleast for this year the plan is inbetween the 404 dollars the house first proposed and the 85 dollars the Governor said he would put in.

Representative Kito says there's a strong sense that both groups will be supportive of this conference report.

Once the report is accepted the funding is included in the capital budget bill.

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