Protestors rally for school funding increase outside Alaska State Capitol

Protestors hold a banner calling for an increase in the base student allocation, a key part of the state’s education funding formula, during a rally at the Alaska State Capitol on Jan. 29, 2024. (Eric Stone/Alaska Public Media)

Hundreds of protestors gathered in front of the Alaska State Capitol on Monday to call for an increase in education funding. 

The rally was supposed to come just before Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s State of the State address, which wound up delayed a day due to poor weather. Here’s what Rebecca Braun, parent of a 16-year-old at Juneau-Douglas High School: Kalé, wanted to hear from the governor.

“If we value the next generation, we must invest in their education. That’s why I, Gov. Dunleavy, am introducing a bill to raise the base student allocation by $1,400. This amount begins to make up for this substantial bite inflation has taken over the last decade,” Braun told the crowd.

A group of protestors, including Rep. Sara Hannan, D-Juneau, center, listen during a rally at the state Capitol on Jan. 29, 2024 calling for an increase in state education funding. (Eric Stone/Alaska Public Media)

The BSA has risen just half a percent since 2017. The House’s Republican-led majority has so far offered a bill with a $300 increase. A parade of Democratic and independent lawmakers took the mic, each demanding a significant increase to the base student allocation. 

An elementary school teacher’s aide in the Juneau School District, Phil Buettel, said he’s seen the results as districts pinch pennies.

“Important programs that support student engagement are facing cuts, things like arts and music, cultural programs, special education, P.E. and athletics,” he said. “In the prosperous state of Alaska, we can do better. We can do better. We must do better.”

Carson Carrlee, a junior at Juneau Douglas High School: Kalé, speaks to a crowd at a rally calling for increased state education funding at the Alaska State Capitol on Jan. 29, 2024. (Eric Stone/Alaska Public Media)

High school junior Carson Carrlee said he wants to go into engineering, architecture or finance in college, but he said many prerequisites are no longer offered at local schools.

“I’m going to have to figure out a way to do that online through a college or drive out to UAS (University of Alaska Southeast) or something to get that class in before I go to college, because that’s what I’m passionate about. And that’s something that can be solved by raising the BSA,” he said.

Senate leaders said Tuesday they are in negotiations with their House counterparts on the pending education bill

Eric Stone covers state government, tracking the Alaska Legislature, state policy and its impact on all Alaskans. Reach him at

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