Pre-Session News

I was in Anchorage last week and was able to meet with Paula Pawlowski of the Alaska PTA and Senator Kevin Meyer, Co-Chairman of the Senate Education Committee. 

A few items of interest from those two meetings:
Paula Pawlowski told me that the grant that the Alaska PTA has for parent engagement wraps up in 2012, and they will not be seeking another grant to extend the program.  The Alaska PTA feels that since the State Board of Education & Early Development endorsed the Family Engagement Plan developed by DEED's Family Engagement Working Group, that plan should be implemented by and facilitated through DEED.  (The State Board of Education & Early Development voted unanimously to endorse the Family Engagement Plan at their January 24, 2011 board meeting.)

Sen. Meyer said that with the continuing high cost of fuel and other utilities, there will probably be either an increase to the BSA or another fuel/utility supplement for districts. 

I also asked Sen. Meyer if he thought the sunset date for standing legislative committees on education would be extended or removed, or if the education committees would revert to being part of the health & social services standing committees.   Sen. Meyer said he would like to see the education committees continue as standing  committees separate from the health and social services committees.  

(Standing committees on education were established with SCR 15, passed in 2008 as one of the recommendations of the Joint Legislative Education Funding Task Force  Currently the standing committees on education will sunset on the first day of session in 2013.)