Letter: Hockey facilities get state funds, yet our schools suffer cutbacks

The Legislature is providing $20.6 million to upgrade hockey facilities in Anchorage. That’s in addition to $7 million for the mayor’s new Turnagain tennis center. 

According to a recent report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (www.cbpp.org), 15 states have reduced educational spending between the 2013 and 2014 budget years. Our Legislature has cut funding by $279 per student, when adjusted for inflation; a far deeper cut than any other state (Wyoming is a distant second, with a cut of $151 per student). Supposedly, this was due to concern over state budget growth. 

ASD has increased class sizes, eliminated summer school, teachers’ aides, administrative assistants, student support program supervisors, and middle school suspension teachers and career guides because of recurring and compounding budget cuts. If money is that tight, why is the state blithely preparing to spend $27.6 million dollars to upgrade or build facilities for a relatively small segment of our population to enjoy their favorite sports? And no, that’s not apples and oranges; it’s dollars and dollars.

— Ken Higgins