Senate passes education funding bill

April 6, 2011 

JUNEAU -- The Alaska Senate has passed a modest increase in student funding to help school districts meet rising costs.

The bill, which also establishes a vocational education factor in the school funding formula, goes to the House.

House Republicans have raised doubts about the prospects for an increase in the base student allocation passing this session, saying they want greater accountability for education spending.

Sens. Kevin Meyer and Joe Thomas, in a sponsor statement, say throwing money at education issues won't fix the problems but neither will allowing inflation to erode funding. They say their proposed increase is below the inflation rate. They say vocational programs are currently lumped with bilingual, gifted and talented and special education programs, which they say require a lot of money, leaving little for vocational education.

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