Panel OKs rural school bill

Posted: Sunday, March 17, 2002

JUNEAU - A bill to suspend a portion of the state's school funding formula that gives less money to some rural schools was passed in the House Finance Committee on Saturday.

The committee preserved about $1.01 million for 22 mostly rural schools that stood to lose money next year under a 1998 change in the state's foundation formula.

It puts off an "eroding floor" provision in the formula that saw the state pay such schools only 60 percent for new students under the 1998 change.

"I don't think it was right we should reduce the funding in these areas without good reason," said Rep. Bill Williams, a Saxman Republican who sponsored the measure.

House fiscal leaders approved the bill to forestall reductions in the funding formula until fiscal year 2004.

The bill passed out of committee by a vote of 10-1. Rep. Con Bunde, an Anchorage Republican, voted against the additional funding. He said the state faces difficult fiscal times and other areas of state service also face cuts.

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