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Alaska's school officials in Juneau for a helping hand

Alaska Dispatch

The state's school districts have sent envoys to Juneau to stop the bleeding. Lawmakers are being briefed on the state of the state's schools, according to a report by KTUU Channel 2 News, in the hopes that painful budget cuts might be preempted. "Educators who visited the state Capitol came with a message that a vision without funding is just an illusion ... In an effort to avoid layoffs and program cutbacks, educators across the state are seeking at least a $100 increase to the amount of funding that the state provides for each student," the article says. But even if the Legislature takes the bait, Gov. Sean Parnell seems disinclined to add funding to schools. Parnell would rather incentivize students to perform better in school -- and hopefully bring teachers along -- through his Alaska Performance Scholarship program. Unfortunately, teachers and staff don't qualify for a scholarship from the governor, yet they have sky-high costs of living to deal with in the 49th state, along with the prospect of inflation, which schools administrators like Anchorage superintendent Carol Comeau noted was a concern. Comeau and others told KTUU that rising utility rates, health care costs, pensions -- you name it -- were stressing them out. These problems are pervasive in other states and for their school districts, but most other states don't have the robust savings that oil wealth has provided Alaska. Read the full story.