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Letter: Education needs to be bipartisan effort

Posted: April 13, 2014 - 12:04am

When parents and students stand up to protect schools from a fourth year of teacher and staff cuts, we should applaud them. Gov. Sean Parnell was wrong to chide them for “scaring everybody.” These parents and students know that sitting by, when we’ve lost over 600 teachers and educators since 2011, doesn’t work. We should create, not stifle opportunity.

The education bill that passed the House on Monday unfortunately leads to classroom cuts for three more years. Alaskans who speak up don’t scare me. We need them more than ever.

As a Democrat, I hope by the end of session we’re not alone in the House in voting to reverse years of classroom cuts. Public education should be bipartisan again. I’m hopeful we can come together for a bill that at least prevents more cuts.

The governor’s oil tax giveaway guarantees billion dollar-plus deficits. It is forecast by the state to produce a 40 percent decline in production by 2024. We have to prioritize. I’d prioritize smart students over a billion-dollar bridge or fancy legislative office building.

Rep. Les Gara

District 18, Anchorage

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