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Governor Palin Signs Bills on Boating Safety and Teachers Salaries

Press Release

Location: Wrangell, AK

Governor Palin Signs Bills on Boating Safety and Teachers Salaries

Governor Sarah Palin today signed two bills into law that will extend the Statewide Boating Safety and Education program and temporarily suspend the experience cap for teachers.

House Bill 215, sponsored by Representative Peggy Wilson, repeals salary scale limitations for hiring new out-of-state teachers. The bill allows districts to better compete for those teachers coming into the state who bring with them years of experience. Current law limits experience-based salary adjustments to eight years of non-Alaska service. HB 215 suspends the experience cap for a two-year period. For many years, this law was irrelevant because salaries in Alaska were generally much higher than elsewhere in the country. As Alaska's teaching salaries have become less competitive, school districts have a need for incentives to attract experienced and qualified personnel for hard-to-fill positions.

"HB 215 provides Alaska's school districts with the ability to offer competitive salaries to attract the best, most qualified teachers," Governor Palin told Mr. Engell's American Government class. "This, in turn, provides Alaska's students with the best, highest-quality education."

Governor Palin signed HB 215 at Petersburg High School.

House Bill 151, sponsored by Representative Mark Neuman, extends the Statewide Boating and Safety and Education program to 2011. The program allows the state to receive federal funds for boating safety and education programs. The Alaska Office of Boating Safety qualifies for about $1 million in federal grant funds in support of Alaska's boating safety program. The program works closely with several partners including the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary to promote safe boating around the state. HB 151 passed the House and Senate unanimously.

"In a state as vast as Alaska, where so many of our residents depend on boats for their transportation, recreation and livelihood, boating safety and education programs are both needed and vital," said Governor Palin.

Governor Palin signed HB 151 during National Safe Boating Week, at the Shakes longhouse at the Wrangell harbor.

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