Juneau Update

In the State Capitol and across Alaska at legislative town halls and constituent meetings, educators are speaking up for students and public education.

The Governor has proposed a budget that would devastate public education as we know it in Alaska. School districts, educators, parents, students and community members have made it clear that the proposed 23% cut to education funding is unacceptable. Now the ball is in the legislature’s court to craft their own budget that doesn’t threaten student learning in our public schools.

If you haven’t already, visit akleg.gov to determine who your State Representative and State Senator are. If you scroll to the bottom of that page, you can input your home address. Many Representatives and Senators send out regular email updates with the latest on their ideas and work. Please make sure that you are signed up for their legislative email updates, and consider following them on social media. When you see that they are coming home for an at home meeting, please make sure to attend. Wear your #RedForEd and don’t forget to share positive stories about what is happening at your schools.

In the coming weeks, as the State House and State Senate craft their own budget proposals, there will be opportunities for public testimony. Please consider going to your local Legislative Information Office or calling in to add your voice to the conversation. If you ever have questions about testifying, please get in touch with our Government Relations Director Matt Moser at matthew.moser@neaalaska.org

Delegate Assembly Priority 1 Items

In January, NEA-Alaska Delegates passed three Priority 1 New Business Items which staff, governance, and members have been actively promoting on visits with legislators in Juneau.

The Priority 1 New Business Items are:

19-01: Forward funding of public education: NEA-Alaska will lobby for continued two-year forward funding of public education.

19-33: Retirement Security: NEA-Alaska will lobby State and local governmental entities to hold a vote that would allow members to elect Social Security coverage, and lobby for a new Defined Benefit/Defined Contribution retirement plan for all members.

19-41: Protect rural schools from closures: NEA-Alaska shall lobby the legislature to keep rural schools open in order to offer a quality education within a student’s home community which will aid in the preservation of Alaskan Native Cultures.

Over the course of this legislative session we will be updating you on the progress of these Priority 1 New Business Items, offering you opportunities to get involved, and continuously advocating members of the legislature to support our positions. Our Legislative Action Teams have made their presence known in the Capital over the past two months and this work will continue until the end of the session. These next two years will be a test of our resolve, our patience, and our ability to act for the collective good of our students and our fellow educators.

Together, we will protect and improve public education in Alaska.