State House Passes Operating Budget

FAIRBANKS- The Alaska House passed a $9.1 billion state operating budget last night, by a vote of 32 to 6, without additional education funding proposed by some Democrats. Minority Democrats proposed several amendments that were rejected, including an addition of 100 million dollars to help school districts avoid teacher layoffs. House Finance members said the details of school funding should be discussed later, specifically on bills dealing with increasing the per– pupil formula. Anchorage Representative, Les Gara said his proposal was meant to put more pressure on legislators. He added, “You can't have a teacher teach to 35 students and not pay attention to the ones struggling.”

Earlier this year, Superintendent of the Fairbanks School District, Pete Lewis, said with their current budget, class sizes will begin growing. “It’s not a matter of if class size will get bigger, it’s a matter of how much,” Lewis said.