Yesterday, Governor Walker released his fiscal plan and proposed FY17 budgets. There is some good news for our membership. Please see below for an update from Government Relations Director Tom Begich.
Political Update: Governor's Budget has some good wins for Coalition for Education Equity/CEAAC
Today the Governor announced his new budget and, while the budget is austere and proposes wide-ranging changes to how we pay for government, it does not do so by attacking school construction. For the past few years the Coalition for Education Equity/CEAAC has advocated for funding for major maintenance, the completion of the Kasayulie Schools commitment, and an end to the roadblock that unfunded general fund school construction potentially presents to use of the REAA School Construction Fund. We are pleased that the Governor has heard our call. His budget will include the final funding for Kivalina School (the last of the Kasayulie schools); will fund the Kachemak Selo school (thus removing the block that this school presents to use of the REAA Fund); and provides for $10 Million in Major Maintenance to keep our schools from further deteriorating. These are big items and the Governor's staff has acknowledged that our efforts are a significant reason these items are in the
budget. However, just because they are in the budget does not mean that they will be secured. There is a lot of work between now and the end of session - such as working to save the pre-K funds and sustain the proposed BSA increase - and we will have our hands full fighting to keep these items in the final budget. Alaska deficits are huge, and only getting larger, but the Governor has recognized that we can't burn down our education house to keep ourselves warm. More to follow as we get into the Session next month and get a sense of the Legislative mood, but for now, at least on our Capital agenda, we have a good start.
Coalition for Education Equity (formerly CEAAC)