Governor Sean Parnell today hailed passage of Alaska's Education Opportunity Act, his legislation to increase educational opportunities for Alaska's students and put more funding into classrooms across the state.
"Not only do I appreciate legislators in both the House and Senate for their careful consideration of this bill, I thank the parents, teachers, students and administrators who made their voices heard on this important issue," Governor Parnell said. "Alaska's students now have new educational opportunities, such as charter, correspondence and residential schools, and vocational training. Between the $300 million in new education funding in this legislation and our plan to pay down $2 billion of the Teachers' Retirement System debt, we have made a substantial financial commitment to the future of Alaska's students and teachers."
Governor Parnell's comprehensive education legislation:
Strengthens parental choice and student opportunities by increasing support for charter, residential, and correspondence schools, and vocational training;
Increases the base student allocation (BSA) over a three-year period and increases funding for other educational opportunities over three years;
Repeals the Alaska High School Graduation Qualifying Exam and replaces it with a student's choice of the SAT, ACT or WorkKeys assessments;
Provides digital teaching opportunities;
Creates more opportunity for students to participate in the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program (ANSEP);
Allows students to test out of courses they have mastered and earn credits to apply toward graduation and the Alaska Performance Scholarship.
Alaska's Education Opportunity Act increases the BSA by $150 million over three years. The legislation also includes $150 million in additional funding that will go toward innovation and new educational opportunities.
Governor Parnell also spearheaded legislation that infuses $2 billion into the Teachers' Retirement System from the Constitutional Budget Reserve Fund.