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Public education supporters hold rally at Capitol

Posted: February 17, 2014 - 10:57pm
Mark Choate, a former Juneau school board member, addresses protestors on the steps of the state Capitol for a "Save Our Schools" rally to speak out against a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow public money to be used for private and religious schools on Monday, Feb. 17, 2014, in Juneau, Alaska. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer)  AP
AP
Mark Choate, a former Juneau school board member, addresses protestors on the steps of the state Capitol for a "Save Our Schools" rally to speak out against a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow public money to be used for private and religious schools on Monday, Feb. 17, 2014, in Juneau, Alaska. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer)

JUNEAU (AP) — Opponents of a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow public money to be used for private and religious schools rallied in front of the state Capitol Monday.

The “Save Our Schools” rally was focused on public education. Many of those gathered held signs with slogans like “Kids Not Cuts” and “Axe Vouchers.”

Several Democratic lawmakers joined the crowd, including Rep. Harriet Drummond of Anchorage. She led chants of “BSA! BSA!” — a reference to the base-student allocation, the per-pupil funding formula that many Democrats want to see increased over what Gov. Sean Parnell proposed.

Sen. Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, said he attended as an observer. He said he considered the conversation about education to be healthy and was still collecting and processing information and trying to understand Sen. Mike Dunleavy’s vision for how any constitutional change would function. Micciche said he needed more information before he would be ready to vote one way or the other.

Dunleavy, R-Wasilla, sponsored SJR9, the version of the proposed amendment pending on the Senate side. Dunleavy has said repeatedly that he is strong supporter of public education but also believes there’s no one-size-fits-all for educating Alaska kids.

SJR9 has advanced from the Senate Finance Committee, but it has not been scheduled for a floor vote. It faces a high bar for passage, with a two-thirds vote needed in the House and Senate to qualify for the ballot. A similar proposal is being considered on the House side.

Supporters of the proposed amendment say it would lead to more choices in education, while opponents fear it would take money from public schools.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Byron Mallott attended but did not speak as scheduled. His campaign cited concerns with mixing the campaign and an event promoted by some legislative offices.

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Raoulduke
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Raoulduke 02/18/14 - 07:34 pm
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tax money usage

PRIVATE,and PAROCHIAL schools are just that private,and parochial not PUBLIC.My tax dollars are public monies,and are to be used for the education of the students that attend PUBLIC school.Private,and Parochial schools get private tuition payments from their students.They are also a for profit.They must want it both ways.Will they be stopping their acceptance of private tuition payments? If they want state tax monies.Then they should be given to the state of Alaska,and reclassified as a PUBLIC school with the same rules,and restrictions.The Separation of church,and state must be enforced. I think Parnell is a waste of space.Then to have the sponsor of SJR9 to be from Wasilla does not surprise me.A lot of ass backward political nonsense has come from there.

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