How big does funding outcry have to be?

Letter to the editor

Posted: Wednesday, March 23, 2005

After a heroic effort on the part of Alaska Kids Count! and others across the state, school funding is still getting the short end of the legislative stick. Citizens wrote letters, sent in PSAs, and testified in favor of fully funding the schools to no avail. Not even the kids' testimony about sharing desks moved legislators enough to do the right thing.

Advocates are told that there just hasn't been enough of a public outcry. What's the critical number? How many parents, students and educators equal one industry lobbyist? If critical mass is the standard, thousands of Alaskans must have petitioned the governor for multi-million dollar road projects and cuts in social programs.

You can quibble about who can use the oil money and when, but the fact remains that Alaska has billions of dollars in the bank. With rising oil prices, our bank account gets fatter and fatter. If the Alaska Legislature has an ideological reason for not creating the best school and university system in the world for our children, they need to explain it to all of us because it certainly isn't about the money.

Barbara Belknap


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