The 27th Alaska State Legislature, 2011 - 2012||
Sponsor Statement: House Bill 199
Funding For State Boarding Schools
“An Act amending the funding for statewide residential educational programs.”
Posted: April 5, 2011 : v27-LS0594-I
Status: (H) FIN : 2011-04-05
House Bill 199 doubles for two years the per-student monthly stipend currently received by three school districts that operate residential boarding school programs, the Nenana City School District, the Galena City School District and the Lower Kuskowkim School District. In 2006 the Legislature established a monthly stipend to help cover room and board expenses incurred by school districts operating a boarding school prior to January 1, 2005.
The Nenana Student Living Center, the Galena Interior Learning Academy and the Bethel Alternative Boarding School educate collectively approximately 260 high school students from at least 50 different communities statewide. The proposed funding increase helps offset the high cost of operating a high school residential program, but does not fully cover all the expenses incurred. The school districts must still seek additional funds to meet the cost of operating a residential boarding school.
These three residential high schools, along with the state-operated Mt. Edgecumbe High School (398 students), deliver high-quality programs that positively impact the lives of the students who attend. However, the annual loss of more than 650 students from small rural high schools impacts the ability of their local school district to offer quality programs to students who elect to remain at home. When one school district gains in students and resources, the other district loses.
The time has come to engage all Alaskans in a dialog on how best to educate students living in rural Alaska. The proposed two-year timeframe in HB 199 provides financial relief to three school districts while allowing time for the much needed discussion.
Thank you for your support.