Dunleavy signals support for $175 million one-year education funding boost

Gov. Mike Dunleavy speaks with reporters on May 1, 2024. (Eric Stone/Alaska Public Media)

Gov. Mike Dunleavy signaled Wednesday that he won’t veto $175 million in one-time funding for public schools included in this year’s state budget. That’s roughly equivalent to a $680 increase in base per-student funding.

He made the comments near the end of a news conference Wednesday discussing the consequences of a recent ruling on Alaska’s homeschool system.

“I’ve told people I’m open to an increase, one-time funds, an increase in one-time funding, especially to help with inflationary issues. Yes,” Dunleavy told reporters when asked whether he’d support the funding increase.

Asked to confirm his preferred one-time funding amount was consistent with the $175 million approved in the House and Senate’s operating budgets, he said, “I don’t have a pencil on me here, but if it’s close to the six-eighty-something, yes.”

That’s a change from last year, when Dunleavy vetoed half of a similar $680-per-student increase in one-time education funding. Alaska’s Constitution generally allows the governor to strike or reduce budget line items.

Earlier this year, Dunleavy vetoed a larger education bill that would have increased base funding for public schools by $680 per student on an ongoing basis. At the time, he said he vetoed the measure because it did not include key priorities related to charter schools and teacher bonuses.

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

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