Our long-time government relations director, Tom Begich, was sworn in yesterday as a newly elected State Senator and while we're sorry to lose his expertise on our team, we are happy to have another ally for public education in the State Senate. To fill this role moving forward, we are pleased to announce that we have contracted with J and H Consulting (Reggie Joule and Christine Hess) to carry on our legislative program this session. They bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table and are a wonderful addition to our team. You can learn more about Chris and Reggie and read their first session update on our website. Executive Director, Sarah Sledge, will also be in Juneau throughout the session.
Of note: the Senate Majority held their first press conference yesterday (1/17/17) and shared their intention to cut state operating expenses by $750 million over the next three years (5%, or $3 million in cuts this year). K-12 education and University of Alaska are among the four budget items they will be looking at for cuts. When asked if the foundation formula would be looked at, Senator Hoffman indicated that no specifics have been determined yet and would be considered in Senate Finance Committee. We'll be watching this closely and keeping you aware of any developments.