Legislature approves flat schools budget, but no increases may force cuts

Juneau schools superintendent says bill a ‘good first step,’ but without funding increases to account for inflation, ‘this is going to get really ugly, really quickly’

The Alaska Legislature on Wednesday approved a $1.2 billion budget for public schools in the next fiscal year.

With a 31-9 vote, the Alaska House approved changes made to House Bill 287 by the Senate on Saturday. The measure now goes to Gov. Bill Walker for his signature.

The measure includes no increases or decreases from the current fiscal year. When the new fiscal year starts July 1, public schools will receive the same amount of money they are getting this year. Public school administrators have repeatedly warned the Legislature that this means job and program cuts, as inflation — particularly rising health care costs — takes hold.

Mark Miller, superintendent of the Juneau School District, called passage of the bill a “good first step,” but warned that without funding increases, “this is going to get really ugly, really quickly.”

For the rest of this story, visit the Juneau Empire.

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