As a School District employee and parent, the fact that Alaska is ranked 41st in the nation in education of our children alarms me. How well a state is ranked is a direct reflection of how much they spend per student (2012 Kids Count Data Book, by the Annie E. Casey Foundation). However, with Alaska having the eighth highest per pupil allocation, the numbers don’t appear to add up.
What could possibly make education in Alaska so different? Heating costs? Transportation costs? Price of food? Unique dynamic of staffing and maintaining a school in the smallest of villages?
The bottom line is that it costs more to provide quality education in Alaska. While our state per pupil average is just over $16,100, Anchorage sits at $5,680. Yet here we sit again, faced with significant budget cuts. Left to try and figure out how to do more with less. It’s time to stop playing politics with the future of our children. Fully fund our schools. Adjust our per pupil allocation for inflation.
— April Christianson