Photos: Juneauites testify before Alaska Senate on education funding

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Martin Stepetin, right, testifies to the Senate Finance Committee on state, education and mental health funding at the Capitol on Friday, April 6, 2018.

by: Michael Penn | Juneau Empire

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Brenda Taylor, right, and Rebecca Soza of the Juneau STEM Coalition testify to the Senate Finance Committee on state, education and mental health funding at the Capitol on Friday, April 6, 2018.

by: Michael Penn | Juneau Empire

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Briana Heller testifies to the Senate Finance Committee on state, education and mental health funding at the Capitol on Friday, April 6, 2018.

by: Michael Penn | Juneau Empire

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Brian Holst, Executive Director of the Juneau Economic Development Council and Juneau School Board President, testifies to the Senate Finance Committee on state, education and mental health funding at the Capitol on Friday, April 6, 2018.

by: Michael Penn | Juneau Empire

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Talea Kellar testifies to the Senate Finance Committee on state, education and mental health funding at the Capitol on Friday, April 6, 2018.

by: Michael Penn | Juneau Empire

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Parent Emily Thompson testifies to the Senate Finance Committee on state, education and mental health funding at the Capitol on Friday, April 6, 2018.

by: Michael Penn | Juneau Empire

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Don Habeger testifies to the Senate Finance Committee on state, education and mental health funding at the Capitol on Friday, April 6, 2018.

by: Michael Penn | Juneau Empire

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Josh Keaton, Vice President of the Juneau School Board, right, testifies to the Senate Finance Committee on state, education and mental health funding at the Capitol on Friday, April 6, 2018.

by: Michael Penn | Juneau Empire

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Retired teacher Sally Donaldson testifies to the Senate Finance Committee on state, education and mental health funding at the Capitol on Friday, April 6, 2018.

by: Michael Penn | Juneau Empire

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Parent Emily Ferry testifies to the Senate Finance Committee on state, education and mental health funding at the Capitol on Friday, April 6, 2018.

by: Michael Penn | Juneau Empire

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Pastor Tari Stage-Harvey, right, testifies to the Senate Finance Committee on state, education and mental health funding at the Capitol on Friday, April 6, 2018.

by: Michael Penn | Juneau Empire

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Tammy Jablonski testifies to the Senate Finance Committee on state, education and mental health funding at the Capitol on Friday, April 6, 2018.

by: Michael Penn | Juneau Empire

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Juneau School Board member Jeffrey Short testifies to the Senate Finance Committee on state, education and mental health funding at the Capitol on Friday, April 6, 2018.

by: Michael Penn | Juneau Empire

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Patrick Ryland, right, testifies to the Senate Finance Committee on state, education and mental health funding at the Capitol on Friday, April 6, 2018.

by: Michael Penn | Juneau Empire

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Juneau School District Superintendent Dr. Mark Miller holds up a Magic 8-Ball as testifies to the Senate Finance Committee on state, education and mental health funding at the Capitol on Friday, April 6, 2018.

by: Michael Penn | Juneau Empire

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Former teacher Gene Randall holds up pink-color paper to represent pink slips as he testifies to the Senate Finance Committee on state, education and mental health funding at the Capitol on Friday, April 6, 2018.

by: Michael Penn | Juneau Empire

Description

Sitting in front of the Alaska Senate Finance Committee, Juneau schools superintendent Mark Miller held up a Magic 8-Ball.

For the past several years, Miller has had to draft a school budget proposal before knowing how much money the Alaska Legislature will provide. He told lawmakers he’s tried using charts and analysis, then he settled upon the device he bought from a thrift store.

“I joke, but it’s not really funny,” Miller said. “It’s hard to know that we have $40 billion sitting in a (Permanent Fund) savings account, and we’re arguing about how many $40,000 single-mother teachers we’re going to lay off next year.”

In public testimony Friday morning, Miller was among more than two dozen Juneau residents who urged the committee to approve a spending plan that provides reliable, increased funding for Alaska’s public school system.

Read more here: Juneauites testify, ask Alaska Senate to boost school funding

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