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Educating Young Alaskans

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Alaskans have said that education is a top priority and the Republican-led Majority agrees. We increased education funding at all levels, including the University of Alaska, and passed legislation to help bring more teachers into the classroom and expand options for learning.

SB 133 maintains the intent of the state high school competency exam while fine-tuning the program to better meet the needs of Alaska's students. The exam will continue to be administered and the emphasis on standards and accountability will remain in place for school districts, schools, teachers, parents and students. In 2004, students will be required to pass a revised exam that focuses on essential skills to graduate, and students with disabilities and transfer students would have options to help them earn a diploma if they are not able to pass the standard exam.

HB 99 requires public school safety and discipline plans to include policies to teach students non-violent conflict resolution and mediation practices.

Funding Educational Excellence

HB 101 allows the creation of new charter schools, provides charter schools with a one-time grant of $500 per student, and allows schools with more than 150 students to receive additional state funding.

SB 174 increases the per-pupil base allocation of the education foundation formula program by $70, to $4010, and allows more school districts to claim individual schools, increasing the per-school funding these districts receive.

HB 234 provides the financing for capital projects across the state using tobacco settlement funds. The funding includes $76 million to build or renovate 32 public school facilities in rural Alaska and more than $20 million for seven facilities in the University of Alaska system.

HB 90 authorizes the state to reimburse 70 percent of the total amount of municipal bonds issued for the construction of three new schools.

SJR 6 encourages Congress to provide federal education funds as block grants to states, including Alaska, allowing each state discretion in where to best spend their educational dollars.

Bringing Experience to the Classroom

SB 149 promotes the recruitment and retention of teachers through recognizing out-of-state teacher credentials, providing incentives for districts to employ retired teachers and improving teachers' medical coverage.

SB 86 allows people with a bachelor's degree to teach in the subject matter of their degree. It would also allow those with a bachelor's degree and five years work experience to teach in the subject matter of their experience.

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