Senate OKs teacher housing bill

Posted: Wednesday, April 02, 2003

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- A bill that would provide housing loans to Alaska teachers without a down payment through the Alaska Housing Finance Corp. was passed Monday by the state Senate.

The bill, introduced by Sen. Gary Wilken, R-Fairbanks, can now proceed to the state House.

Wilken told the Senate the bill is designed to aid teacher recruitment and retention.

''This is just an attempt, a small attempt, to attract the best and the brightest to Alaska,'' he said. ''It allows them to buy into their community ... with something as simple as their first home.''

The bill would create a new AHFC program to provide housing loans to teachers without a down payment to purchase owner-occupied, single-family housing. There are already a number of similar AHFC programs in place, but none for teachers.

The bill has been amended by a pair of Senate committees and contains provisions that also extend the loans to school counselors, administrators, or providers of special education or related services.

Provisions also allow regional education areas to qualify for lower interest rates when constructing or purchasing housing for teachers.

The Senate passed the bill by a vote of 16-1. The only opposition to the bill came from Sen. Lyda Green, R-Wasilla, Wilken's co-chair on the Senate Finance Committee. Green argued that the bill was too broad.

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