House committee advances private school funding amendment

Associated PressMarch 23, 2012 

JUNEAU -- The House Finance Committee has advanced a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow public money to be used for private schools.

HJR16 is a companion to a bill that would allow state-sponsored scholarships for students to attend private schools. Both measures are from Rep. Wes Keller.

The Alaska Constitution states that public money can't be appropriated except for a public purpose. HJR16 would add that nothing in that section would prevent payment of public funds "for the direct educational benefit of students as provided by law."

Rep. Mike Doogan, a no vote, said problems in the public education system shouldn't be the reason for lawmakers to contemplate the system's "dismantling."

Rep. Bill Thomas, a yes vote, said it's wrong to stifle the voice of the people on this issue.

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