JUNEAU (AP) -- Legislation authorizing the the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation to issue bonds to finance public school and University of Alaska construction projects was signed into law Thursday by Gov. Tony Knowles.
The bonds also will cover port and harbor projects and AHFC housing projects.
Knowles said the bill authorizes many vitally needed projects but does not address most of the needs on the state Board of Education's new school and major maintenance list.
Knowles had proposed paying for the top 40 projects on the Department of Education construction list plus all projects on the department's major maintenance list.
House Bill 281 authorizes funding for only the first five new school construction projects -- new schools in Chevak, Pilot Station, Manakotak, Kotlik, Elim -- plus the No. 24 project, a school in Kake.
The bill did not include most major maintenance projects on the Department of Education list for rural Alaska.
Knowles also criticized the bill because he said it does not contain a rational basis for the amounts allocated to various school districts for bond debt reimbursement.
He said some districts are not authorized sufficient reimbursement to cover projects already approved by voters. Other districts are authorized for reimbursement on unspecified projects, Knowles said.
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