Alaska News Nightly: January 24, 2014

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ASD Budget Cutting Process Begins as Legislature Mulls Increasing Education Funding

Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN – Juneau & Daysha Eaton, KSKA – Anchorage

Governor Sean Parnell introduced his education package Friday, and inside is a small increase to the school funding formula.

That increase would come through the “base student allocation,” which is the amount of money a school gets for each child enrolled. For four years, the BSA has been $5,680 dollars. Parnell’s bill would raise it about one percent a year for three years. There isn’t any language that would inflation-proof the formula beyond that point.

And that isn’t enough of an increase to please Anchorage School district officials, who presented the 2014-2015 budget to the Anchorage School Board last night. The district is facing cuts of $23 million this year.

Bill Could Eliminate High School Exit Exam

Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN – Juneau

With school districts working on their budgets and teacher layoffs looming, the potential change in the base student allocation is the most talked about portion of the governor’s education package.

The part of the bill that has the most political momentum is a section that would repeal the high school exit exam that students need to graduate. Separate pieces of the legislation that would do just that have already been introduced in both legislative chamber, and the first hearing of the policy was held Friday morning.

Legislation Introduced To Repeal State Funds For U-Med/Northern Access Road

Josh Edge, APRN – Anchorage

Two Anchorage Democrats introduced legislation Friday to repeal $20 million dollars in state funds allocated to the planned U-Med/Northern Access Road.

Avalanches Close Richardson Highway

The Associated Press

The only highway to Valdez has been closed by avalanches. The Anchorage Daily News reports one avalanche nearly struck a truck today on the Richardson Highway.

Alaska Salmon To Remain On Walmart’s Shelves

Mike Mason, KDLG – Dillingham

Walmart announced Friday that they will continue to stock salmon products from most of the large seafood processors that operate in Alaska.

Cantwell Urges White House To Stop Alaska Pebble Mine Project, Protect Fishermen

Ed Ronco, KPLU – Seattle

A U.S. senator from the Lower 48 is asking the White House to stop the Pebble Mine. Democrat Maria Cantwell, of Washington, says the proposed mine in Western Alaska threatens fishing jobs in her state.

AK: Spoken Word

David Waldron, APRN – Anchorage

For the fourth consecutive year, the group Brave New Alaskan Voices is assembling a squad of teen spoken word artists to compete in the International Spoken Word & Poetry festival. This year the competition will be held in Philadelphia, but first these Alaskan artists have to face each other for a chance to represent their state.

300 Villages: Hollis

This week we’re heading to Hollis, a small community on Prince of Wales Island in Southeast Alaska. Bill Sharpes is the fire chief in Hollis on Prince of Wales Island.