I sat for over three hours waiting to testify for the Senate Finance Committee hearing on SJR9. Testimony came from all over the state and the overwhelming sentiment was not in favor of SJR9, which would allow a vote to change the Alaska constitution.
However, Sen. Kelly kept asking these folks, “Are you a member of the NEA?” I found that question to be reprehensible, disrespectful and demeaning of the citizens who came out to testify. These folks are citizens, voters, parents and educators and are concerned about an ill-conceived notion.
A dialogue can and should occur on the merits, financial consequences and logistics of how changing funding to education will affect public education. Regardless of your membership in whatever group, voting to change the constitution so a conversation can begin is a ridiculous precept. This conversation needs to happen before opening up a vote to change our constitution!
I do not support SJR9. Feel free to earnestly let the conversation occur. Let’s do our homework first.
— Marilyn Pillifant