(Juneau) - Leadership of the House and Senate today expressed appreciation that House Bill 273 has been signed into law, making comprehensive changes to K-12 education funding the state provides to local school districts.
I am very pleased the Governor has done the right thing and signed this landmark legislation into law.
~ Rep. John Harris
"I am very pleased the Governor has done the right thing and signed this landmark legislation into law," said House Speaker John Harris, R-Valdez. "This bill represents the best of a public process in which every interest group got most of what it wanted, and through give-and-take, helped provide the other groups most of what they needed."
"This is the most important education funding bill in the past 20 years," said Senate President Lyda Green, R-Wasilla. "A lot of hard work went into putting it together and legislators can take pride in the fact that it will improve the classroom experience for students and teachers in the years ahead."
A lot of hard work went into putting it together and legislators can take pride in the fact that it will improve the classroom experience for students and teachers in the years ahead.
~ Sen. Lyda Green
"As chair of the interim Joint Education Funding Task Force, I commend and thank the Governor for signing this bill," said Rep. Mike Hawker, R-Anchorage. "The members of the task force worked diligently to develop a three-year school funding plan that really meets the needs of Alaska's schools. I am confident we have provided the stability and predictability our schools need to now focus on improving classroom outcomes."
The bill addresses the following categories:
Pupil transportation: Recalibrates the funding for pupil transportation based on the most recent audits by the Department of Education & Early Development. Amounts will be adjusted according to the Consumer Price Index, or CPI, for Anchorage. The adjustment will sunset in 2011.
The members of the task force worked diligently to develop a three-year school funding plan that really meets the needs of Alaska's schools.
~ Rep. Mike Hawker
Declining enrollment: A New statute that provides for a step-down for declining enrollment over the three years. If the Average Daily Membership, which is the average daily full-time student equivalent, decreases by five percent or more from the previous year's ADM, the district can add 75 percent of the difference in the first year, 50 percent in the second year and 25 percent in the third year.
Intensive Needs Students: Currently, school districts receive five times the base student allocation for each intensive needs student. The bill increases that amount to nine times the BSA in FY09, 11 times the BSA in FY10 and 13 times the BSA in FY11.
District Cost Factors: The bill will phase in 50-percent of the Institute of Social & Economic Research report's recommendation for cost factors in FY09, with the remaining 50 percent implemented over the next four years. District Cost Factors are the adjustments based on the dollar value needed to provide an Anchorage-area level of service.
Base Student Allocation: The bill will increase the BSA, which is currently $5,380 per student, by $100 per year from FY2008 levels for the next three fiscal years, from $5,480 in FY2009 to $5,580 in FY2010 and $5,680 in FY2011.