Gov. Sean Parnell is calling the education funding increase approved by the Alaska Senate last week the “ultimate giveaway,” and saying the increase would actually cost the state half a billion dollars.
Rep. Beth Kerttula, D-Juneau, said she was “appalled” by the governor’s comments.
Parnell said he’d be OK with some extra money for higher heating costs or similar expenses, but that the Senate went overboard with its increase to the base student allocation, the per-student amount provided by the state to local districts.
“They have just spent half a billion dollars more on education and they have not required results or anything transformational with the system,” he said.
Even the help with heating costs shouldn’t be part of a formula that provides more assistance when fuel prices are high, he said.
The Senate’s bill provides an additional $125 per student next year to the BSA, for a total of $30.6 million. Parnell’s mention of half a billion dollars comes from adding that amount, similar increases the next two years and the next four years of expected spending after that, for a total of $475 million.