Anchorage community members protest education budget cuts

Protestors gather outside of the Legislative Information Office in downtown Anchorage. Hillman/KSKA
Protestors gather outside of the Legislative Information Office in downtown Anchorage. Hillman/KSKA

Community members gathered outside of the Legislative Information Office in Anchorage Wednesday evening to protest proposed cuts to education funding.

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A group of about 60 people, ranging from grade schoolers to grandparents, chanted, “Enough is enough! Enough is enough!”

“Think about our education!” added in third grader Violet Bernoski, who attends Winterberry Charter School.

Violet said she was there to support her teacher. Her classmate, Hatcher Mesknes, chimed in saying “She helps us learn and be able to go to college.”

West High 11th grader Charlie Lowell stood at the back of the crowd with a group of teenagers, surrounded by signs saying “You’ve gone too far” and “Keep your promise.”

Protestors asking for fewer cuts to education funding. Hillman/KSKA
Protestors asking for fewer cuts to education funding. Hillman/KSKA

“Mostly I’m just really disappointed with the legislature is right now with it’s stance toward education funding. A lot of legislators that Great Alaska Schools and a lot of students were really banking on promised a lot to their constituents and the students and to education in general in the state. And right now what we’re seeing is nothing of the sort that they promised.”

The Senate is currently proposing to cut a variety of programs focused on early learning and literacy. That includes state funding for Parents as Teachers, which prepares first time parents to help get their students ready for school. The Senate is also including cuts to the one-time grant funding promised in last year’s HB 278.

Great Alaska School’s Alyse Galvin helped organize the event.

“We worked hard last year to get that bill, 278. And now we know the governor made some suggestions that that get cut down. And then the legislature took that and ran out of town with it. And frankly, we’re not liking it.”

The Senate plans to vote on the budget at the end of this week. They’re trying to close a $3.5 billion dollar budget gap.