Bill gives correspondence school one-year reprieve

Posted: Sunday, May 11, 2003

JUNEAU (AP) Supporters of the state's correspondence school would have another year to find a way to keep the program going under a bill passed Friday by the House.

Gov. Frank Murkowski's administration had proposed closing Alyeska Central School, saying the state would save at least $1.2 million just by ceasing operation of the summer school.

Alyeska's supporters argued the state should not close the school entirely because no other correspondence programs in Alaska are certified.

Supporters also argued the school is cost effective because the state spends 20 percent less to educate correspondence students than it spends on regular public school students.

Rep. Bruce Weyhrauch, R-Juneau, helped work out a compromise version of the bill. It calls for eliminating funds for Alyeska's summer school but letting the regular correspondence program continue another year. In that time, the school's supporters can try to arrange for the program to be taken over by a school district, perhaps as a charter school.

House Bill 174 passed 34-2, with Anchorage Democrats Les Gara and Harry Crawford voting against it. It still has to pass the Senate.

The correspondence school, located in Juneau, employs about 38 teachers and support staff and has an enrollment of about 1,100 students.

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