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In capital budget, millions for Juneau infrastructure but nothing for schools

Posted: April 8, 2014 - 11:04pm

Each Alaska senator has an approximate limit on capital budget spending for projects in his or her district — how they spend it is up to them.

Anchorage schools are getting nearly $4.9 million in additional funding from the capital budget. Fairbanks has just over $150,000 headed its way.

Juneau schools aren’t so lucky. There’s nothing in the capital budget for them.

“We can only do so much,” said Sen. Dennis Egan, D-Juneau. “Every project is a need, I don’t argue with that, it’s just trying to prioritize some of this stuff.

“Ultimately, it’s up to the co-chairs of Senate Finance about what projects get in,” he added.

In the draft capital budget, Juneau will receive $93.6 million, $8.04 million more than the governor initially proposed.

The $93.6 million includes $35 million for the Juneau Access project, but not $37.5 million for the State Library, Archive and Museum project. It’s considered a statewide effort.

Of the approximately $8 million added by legislators to the governor’s proposed capital budget, $2 million will pay for improvements to the Last Chance Basin — which supplies Juneau’s drinking water — and the Salmon Creek Water Treatment facility. Another $4.3 million will go to improvements at the University of Alaska Southeast.

Juneau Republican Rep. Cathy Muñoz said the delegation — herself, Egan and Rep. Sam Kito III, D-Juneau — met in early March to prioritize requests from their districts, which include Skagway, Petersburg and Gustavus as well as Juneau.

“When we get together we don’t take up what the governor has already put into the budget,” Muñoz said. “We review all of the projects that are not in the governor’s budget and then rank those.”

She added that securing the $2 million for water projects was one of Juneau’s top priorities.

Jesse Kiehl, City and Borough Assemblyman and legislative staff to Egan, said their office received about $165 million in capital project requests.

The Juneau School District sent only two requests: $60,000 for new video conferencing equipment and $580,000 for a new elementary language arts curriculum. Neither request was granted.

Muñoz told the Empire that if the JSD had submitted multiple smaller requests for individual need, they probably would have secured some extra funding from the state.

In comparison, the Anchorage School District had 58 individual funding requests included in the capital budget for a total of nearly $4.9 million.

Tok’s school district got $48,500, $77,000 went to the Mat-Su district and the Copper River School District got $275,000 in the budget.

The figures revealed Monday are not final and may change before the Legislature adjourns for the year.

That deadline is in 11 days.

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Tom Leston
Tom Leston 04/09/14 - 09:47 am
"The proposed $35 million

"The proposed $35 million allocation is not enough to complete the road. The most recent estimates put the cost of constructing the road at $523 million... ( we know that figure will at least double) The $35 million is enough to build enough road to reach the Kensington gold mine", Muñoz said." The state of Alaska has a revenue problem, and yet our list of mega-projects is exploding,” Sullivan said. At the same time, they’re talking about cutting funding to schools – none of this adds up.”

Clay Good
Clay Good 04/09/14 - 02:58 pm
The Value of a Good Education

Brad - According to the State of Alaska EED, the BSA for Alaska is $5680 per student per year - not $19,000.

Dot - Please don't forget my invitation to visit my classroom. There are also a few special education teachers I'd like to introduce to you while you're there, too.

It's all in a days work for a teacher....

Brad Fluetsch
Brad Fluetsch 04/09/14 - 03:09 pm
come on Clay

The Juneau School District Budget is $92 million and there might be 4,750 students, meaning in Juneau, each student is costing $19,368.42

Teaching just ain't what it use to be. Clay, you a Common Core math teacher? It is how you feel about how your effort, not so much the accuracy of your math.

Bill Burk
Bill Burk 04/09/14 - 03:28 pm

A special education teacher has to learn many special skill to deal with a verity of different special needs of children. Besides working with students a spec ed teach has to write IEP's for each student in the class, alternative assessments, meetings with parents, and with the teachers of each class that a student is in. Teaching a spec ed student is NOT an easy job! The teach and support staff get hit, spit on,kicked,cussed at some times change a student, feed certain students ,and the list goes on. If you think the job is easy I like Clay think you need to spend a day in a social education class room

Clay Good
Clay Good 04/09/14 - 03:49 pm
Brad's Right

You're right about one thing, Brad. Teaching ain't what it used to be.

BTW, I teach physical science and work readiness at TMHS.

Ask me about it sometime.

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