Second Session Called; Education Funding Showdown

Second Session Called; Education Funding Showdown

Yesterday, the Legislature adjourned the first special session without resolution on the amount of the PFD and leaving unresolved capital budget and reverse sweep issues. Legislators have been in session for 150 days. Shortly after adjourning, Governor Dunleavy called a second special session. There is also a continuing disagreement over education funding. Last year, as part of the final adjournment compromise, the House and Senate forward-funded education. However, the Governor argues that forward funding is unconstitutional and he's threatening to withhold money from school districts in July.

CEEquity lawsuit status re: $20 million one time FY19 education funding

Yesterday, DEED released the one-time $20 million education funding allocated for the current fiscal year (FY19). Based on the Governor's decision to release these funds, CEE has received questions about the status of our current lawsuit that sought a Court Order directing the release of the funds. We are pleased that the Governor finally released the FY19 funds, but remain disappointed that the administration held up funding for our schools until the 11th hour. We will continue standing up for what was passed into law and will continue to fight for our students.

Education Funding Alert: FY20 Operating Budget and Forward Funding

Education Funding Alert: FY20 Operating Budget and Forward Funding

The Legislature is still working to reach consensus needed to pass the FY20 operating budget. The conference committee has reached agreement on the DEED budget, which includes all of our priorities, although we should prepare for Governor vetoes on all or some of this. The Governor and his AG have asserted that forward funding of education is unconstitutional. If you haven't already seen it, I've attached the AG's May 8 legal opinion on this issue.

Alaska students produce short about teacher turnover

Alaska students produce short about teacher turnover

Last fall, we met with media/journalism students in the Lower Kuskokwim School District and asked them to take a look at several of the education issues affecting Alaska schools and students to see if they would like to work on any of them. Student Kaylee King decided to work on a project about teacher turnover and retention efforts in rural Alaska, and we’re so glad she did! Please watch this fantastic short film she produced!

Governor’s Response to Lawsuit over FY 2019 Education Funding

Governor’s Response to Lawsuit over FY 2019 Education Funding

As many of you know, Coalition for Education Equity filed a lawsuit against the Governor regarding his administration’s decision to withhold $20 million in FY 2019 education funding from Alaska school districts. Prior to filing the suit, CEE attorneys sent a letter to the Governor on April 8, informing him of their legal position that this withholding amounted to an illegal impounding of appropriated funds, asking him to release the funds immediately.

CEEquity Lawsuit Filed & Legislative Update

Coalition for Education Equity filed a lawsuit yesterday regarding the administration's failure to release $20 million in FY 2019 education funding to Alaska’s school districts. CEE is seeking immediate release of these impounded funds. In other news, the Alaska Senate passed their version of the operating budget yesterday by a vote of 19-1. See our detailed report of the education budget (and other items of interest).

Lawsuit pending regarding Governor's illegal impound of $20 million in FY19 education funding

Lawsuit pending regarding Governor's illegal impound of $20 million in FY19 education funding

On April 24, 2019, the Coalition for Education Equity notified the governor that immediate legal action would be taken if $20 million in FY 2019 education funding is not released to school districts by April 30, 2019. Governor Dunleavy proposed a FY 19 Supplemental Budget on January 28, 2019 that cut these funds in the middle of the school year. His administration has since refused to release the funds, despite the fact that the legislature has opted to not pass this cut. The Executive Branch’s refusal to release these funds for timely expenditure by school districts is an illegal impounding of funds and a violation of the Alaska Constitution.

New Survey Reveals Alaskans Rank K-12 Public School Investment as Top Priority

New Survey Reveals Alaskans Rank K-12 Public School Investment as Top Priority

The Association of Alaska School Boards (AASB), the Alaska Council of School Administrators (ACSA), and Coalition for Education Equity of Alaska (CEE) today released the results of a new statewide survey that reveals Alaskans rank investment in K-12 public education as a top priority for government spending. The survey results show a need for a state budget that reflects Alaska’s values and commitment to a quality public education system.

Major cuts in Governor Dunleavy proposed FY20 amended budget

Major cuts in Governor Dunleavy proposed FY20 amended budget

Today Governor Dunleavy unveiled his proposed amended budget, SB 20 which calls for $1.6 billion in cuts from the FY 2020 budget. Public education received a proposed cut of over $330 million, or a little over 24% of the education budget. This equals about 3,100 teacher positions. Included in these cuts is a $269 million reduction in the foundation formula and the elimination of the $30 million in FY 20 one-time education funding that was agreed to last year.

August 2018 Updates!

August 2018 Updates!

2017-18 was a busy year! Our members worked hard to identify our 2018-19 (and beyond) CEE priorities, to include: adequate investment in education, recruitment and retention of quality educators, statewide access to quality pre-elementary programs, capacity of school districts and DEED, school construction and major maintenance, and community capacity issues. We’ll be building on our successes of 2018, which you can read about here. We also elected new board officers, released a report from our “Research-based Educator System Support” (RESS) pilot study, and completed a post-hoc evaluation of the Moore Settlement early learning, teacher retention, and HSGQE grants.

Education Legislation signed into law

Education Legislation signed into law

Coalition for Education Equity executive director, Sarah Sledge traveled to Fairbanks August 10 to join Governor Bill Walker as he signed several key education bills into law. CEE supported all of these bills, and specifically worked to get HB 212 introduced and passed. This bill will provide an additional avenue for our rural and small schools to obtain funding for major maintenance projects, helping us save money on future construction costs and ensuring our children have safe spaces in which to learn.

Educator Workforce Satisfaction Study Final Report

Educator Workforce Satisfaction Study Final Report

Coalition for Education Equity has released the final report from the “Research-based Educator System Support” (RESS) pilot study, designed to study and support educator workforce satisfaction and retention. The process and information gleaned from the study proved beneficial to individual school districts, and also provide us with salient recommendations for local and state policy and practices.

End of the 2018 Legislative Session

End of the 2018 Legislative Session

We have received the end-of-session report from our government relations consultants. The report provides a detailed look at revenue, funding, and specific education legislation we were following or actively working on for passage. We worked with many other education organizations and activists to secure advance and increased funding for education. I am particularly proud of our years of committed work to sustain funding and expand pre-elementary programs statewide, and our continued and successful advocacy for school construction and major maintenance.

Spike Jorgensen Scholarship application deadline extended!

Spike Jorgensen Scholarship application deadline extended!

The Spike Jorgensen Scholarship 2018 application has been extended to April 6! Please share information about the Spike Jorgensen Scholarship with your school administrators, counselors, teachers, and students. Two winners are selected from member districts for a $1,000 award. Awards can be renewed for up to four years. The current year application can be found on our website at: www.ceequity.org/scholarship. For more information, email scholarship@ceequity.org