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As a father of two young children I hear my fair share of youthful, self-centered bickering. How many times must parents endure our kids' "mine, mine, mine" daily mantra? The current debates over use of PFD monies and disappearing funding for education rings of the same childish quarrels.
"Mine, mine, mine" shout the self-centered and shortsighted individuals who apparently believe that the annual state handout is some sort of natural liberty. Is there truly a push to make the PFD a constitutional right? I can hear the American poor as well as all global people in need shudder in disgust. And while the annual cash is handed out, our schools and our children cry out in need.
In light of the statewide scarcity of education funding and the present wealth of Alaska's PFD coffers, a few simple numbers may assist in rallying support for a new distribution of a portion of Alaska's wealth. The Juneau School District is short by roughly $2 million for the coming fiscal year, a shortfall which seems to be forcing the potential layoff of 26 teachers, the elimination of bussing routes and the loss of special programming. Two million dollars, assuming a $1,000 payout, equates to the PFD checks from 2,000 residents, roughly 1/15 of our city's population. If all Juneau residents handed out just one year's PFD to local education, our school district's budget problems could be solved for 15 years (ignoring inflation, etc.).
One year's PFD check for our children's education. Sure, we need to invest for college and the future, but our children need the assistance now. They need good schooling now in order to ever make it to college. Let's end the PFD bickering and put a small portion of Alaska's money to good use. My family is more than willing to "sacrifice" the senseless state handout for the education of Alaska's youth. That makes four ... only 1,996 more checks to go for Juneau. Are you willing to join us?