Walker signs education bills at teacher welcome back day

FAIRBANKS — Gov. Bill Walker signed four education bills Friday morning at Lathrop High School as part of the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District’s annual teacher welcome back and in-service day.

Walker, before signing the bills, spoke to Fairbanks teachers gathered in Hering Auditorium.

“We are a resource state, but our most important resources are our children and our students,” he said, noting that the state has made a financial turn in being able to forward-fund education for the first time this year.

“I’m so proud that we’ve made that turn, that we’re no longer sending out pink slips,” Walker said. “We will never again have to determine the quality of education based upon the price of oil.”

Walker was joined by Sen. Click Bishop, R-Fairbanks; Sen. Pete Kelly, R-Fairbanks; Sen. Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna; Sen. Anna MacKinnon, R-Eagle River; and Rep. Justin Parish, D-Juneau.

House Bill 212 expands the budget for rural school construction to address a growing maintenance backlog in addition to working on construction of new schools.

House Bill 213 moves the Public School Trust Fund to a percent of market value approach, maximizing the fund’s ability to grow while guaranteeing the largest possible sustainable payout to education each year.

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