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School rally: no to vouchers, yes to BSA

Teachers, legislators, supporters rally for school funding increase

Posted: March 27, 2013 - 12:05am
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Sen. Berta Gardner, D-Anchorage, and Rep. Les Gara, D-Anchorage, along with other legislators speak during a "Save Our Schools" rally attended by public education supporters on the steps of the Capitol on Tuesday.  Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Sen. Berta Gardner, D-Anchorage, and Rep. Les Gara, D-Anchorage, along with other legislators speak during a "Save Our Schools" rally attended by public education supporters on the steps of the Capitol on Tuesday.

More than 150 teachers, legislators and education supporters rallied behind calls to increase funds allocated to each Alaskan student outside Alaska’s capitol building Tuesday afternoon.

Legislators fired rousing speeches across Fourth Street and ralliers tossed cheers back. Calls to put education before funding oil exploration were directed at the governor’s third-floor windows.

Rep. Beth Kerttula, D-Juneau, said the state should fund schools at least as generously as it does oil exploration.

“I would say a second-grader’s education is more important than a billion dollars for oil companies,” Kerttula said referencing Gov. Sean Parnell’s current oil tax proposal.

Half a dozen Democratic legislators joined ralliers to denounce school vouchers along with calls for a more than $300 bump to the $5,680 allocated to teach each Alaska student annually. The increase would bring the allocation up to date with inflation, supporters said. The Base Student Allocation hasn't seen an increase in three years.

Along with support for increases to the Base Student Allocation, educators and decision-makers voiced opposition to state-issued school vouchers

Contact reporter Russell Stigall at 523-2276 or at russell.stigall@juneauempire.com.

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