The 26th Alaska State Legislature, 2009 - 2010||
Sponsor Statement: House Bill 317
Education Funding: Basic/ Special Needs/ Transport
“An Act increasing the special needs funding and base student allocation for public schools, and extending the adjustment for student transportation funding; and providing for an effective date.”
Posted: January 29, 2010 : v26-LS1378\E
Status: (H) RLS : 2010-04-14
HB 317 forward funds education by setting in statute a $125 increase in the Base Student Allocation (BSA) for the next three years. The bill also increases block funding to School Districts by 1.5% and extends Consumer Price Index (CPI) adjustments to the formula for funding pupil transportation.
In 2008 the legislature instituted recommendations of the Joint Legislative Education Funding Task Force which included a 3 year increase in the BSA of $100 each year. HB 317 extends this concept for an additional 3 years by setting in statute an increase in the BSA of $125 each year. It also extends the Anchorage CPI adjustment to pupil transportation established in 2008 by the Education Funding Task Force and amends it from "changes" to "increases" to guard against any potential decrease in the CPI. The total increase in state funding to school districts for FY2012 is approximately $60 million which is consistent with the past three years of increases in education funding.
Letting School Districts know the amount of their budget in advance allows them to plan their budgets and avoids the destructive teacher layoff/re-hire cycle that has happened in the past.
The intent of the increase to special education, gifted and talented, vocational education and bilingual education services block funding is to allow school districts to direct more funds to career technical or vocational education. Alaska needs to prepare and engage our students who are interested in skilled labor for the developing needs of our state.
HB 317 confirms to Alaskans, educators and parents the legislature's commitment to fund education by forward funding education for the next three years. It also recognizes the responsibility of the State and school districts to develop vocational education resources in Alaska's schools.