School Board candidate Q&A: Do you favor a proposed constitutional amendment allowing the state to direct public dollars for private schooling, including religious schools?

March 29, 2013 

In the days leading to the April 2 municipal election, we'll be publishing responses from School Board candidates to a range of questions. Read other questions at adn.com/cityelection

Q: Do you favor a proposed constitutional amendment allowing the state to direct public dollars for private schooling, including religious schools?

School Board Seat A

Bettye Davis: No

Don Smith: Yes -- as long as the funds going to religious schools are not spent to promote any religious teaching.

School Board Seat B

Stephanie Cornwell-George: No. We have the ability to offer school choice within the public school system. We need to look at what is needed, work with staff and community to create those options and address transportation issues to really allow for choice.

Eric Croft: No. I support school choice within the public school system. A voucher system will quickly divide us into two categories, the wealthy families that can supplement the voucher amount to get an adequate education for their children and the poor families that cannot. I do not like what this does to our school system but particularly do not like what it does to our democracy.

David Nees: I testified in favor of HJR 1 and will testify in favor of SJR 9. Like fellow former educator senator Dunleavy, I know this one size fits all approach in education does not work as far as directing public funds to private schools, organizations. The state of Alaska is already doing this. The state in last three years has directed over $11 million to private organizations, union training groups and for-profit businesses, public school funding. So the constitutionality of programs like the governor's scholarship are already suspect and would violate the Sheldon Jackson college decision. HJR 1 and SJR 9 if passed will allow the state to continue this vital private/public partnership

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