The Alaska Association of School Boards (AASB) is lobbying state lawmakers to pump hundreds of millions of more dollars into Alaska’s failing public school system next year.

In particular, the AASB wants the State Legislature to approve a massive expansion of the base student allocation (BSA), which is the amount of state funding set aside annually for each student. Currently, Alaska pays $5,969 per student. This does not include added expense factors for rural areas, special needs students and other adjustments to the base allocation.

In a Jan. 31 column AASB Executive Director Lon Garrison called on lawmakers to expand the BSA by an additional $860, which would grow the educational budget by around $180 million when multiplied across roughly 131,000 Alaska students.

Garrison said the BSA has only increased by $250 from 2012 to 2022 – a 4.2% increase, while inflation has risen by at least 24%. This, however, is not the full story.

As the Alaska Policy Forum reported this past December, Alaska’s total per pupil revenue has grown by 32% per pupil over the past two decades – from $15,000 in 2002 to $20,000 in 2020. That includes all federal, state and local funding sources, not just the BSA.

Overall, Alaska exceeds the national average in per pupil spending by 23%, APF notes.

“Increasing spending is often seen as the cure-all for a lackluster education system, no matter which state is examined,” the APF report explained. “But higher spending does not necessarily correlate with better outcomes. Alaska had the sixth highest per-pupil expenditures in 2018-2019, yet National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scores in 2019 were the fifth lowest nationwide in fourth-grade mathematics, and dead last in fourth-grade reading.”

Moreover, since 2002, “Alaska grew its education revenues and spending by nearly a third while enrollment has declined,” APF adds. “Increases in support services quickly outpaced the lean increases in teaching salaries,” and “increases in both instructional and support services were driven primarily by increasing benefits, not salaries. Alaska’s school system prioritized the administrative and support apparatus instead of salaries for teachers.”

In addition to requesting a sizable increase to the BSA, the school board association is also asking lawmakers to invest millions more in so-called “social-emotional” learning, “trauma-engaged practices,” the prevention of sexual abuse by school staff, and the reduction of school violence.


— Click here to read the full education spending report by Alaska Policy Forum.

— Click here to contact members of the Alaska House of Representatives.

— Click here to contact members of the Alaska State Senate.

Click here to support Alaska Watchman reporting.

Alaska Assoc. of School Boards wants hundreds of millions more for failing public schools

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.


  • Friend of Humanity says:

    My answer to any school district that works against what parents want: “No.” I am willing to bet that money would be used for all of the indoctrination programs and nothing about basic education.

  • Elizabeth Henry says:

    Education choice, parental responsibility and autonomy, encouraging and supporting families, back to basics with no agenda. That is what will work. Money cannot buy these things. The current educational model is failing as also the world view of the system. No more money. Less money.

  • Elizabeth Henry says:

    This just infuriates me. Here is what I wrote in a letter to my representative. Who is on the same page, but it does help for him to have letters from constituents.
    “A resounding NO to providing more money to our failing school system, in response to the greedy leftist Association of School Boards. Money will NOT fix the problem. If that were the case, at now over 20K, per year, per student, we would not have a problem. Educational choice, parental responsibility and autonomy, back to academic basics without agenda driven curriculum, raised expectations, tax credits, vouchers, are some things that could work. Please do not buy the lie that more money into a failing system will solve the mess. It will not.”

  • Reggie Taylor says:

    It has become abundantly clear that a lack of money is not even remotely the problem causing our failing school systems.

  • Molly says:

    Get woke, go broke.

  • Steve P Peterson says:

    The public school system, under the control of the NEA, is the educational arm of the Democrat Party. It will get whatever money it needs regardless of the fact that children are not being educated effectively in what it takes to succeed in a free market economy. This is by design and what happens when the progressives take over an institution.

  • Sharon says:

    Money won’t solve our failing schools!

  • AK Fish says:

    July 2022: Alaska ranks fiftieth (#50) out of 50 states and the District of Columbia despite spending almost 16K dollars per student. SEE FYI: WalleHub accounts for performance, funding, safety, class size and instructor credentials when it conducted rankings.

    CIRCA 2022: Anchorage School District wasn’t immune from failure. Being bigger did not mean higher student test or even scores approaching 50% for English or Math. In the Anchorage School District, 66% of students were not proficient in English, and 72% were not proficient in math on the state tests.

    Only Washington, D.C. (#30 ranked), New York (#17 WalletHub ranked), and New Jersey (#3 ranked) spent more than Alaska (#50) per student. Texas spent the least amount per student BUT its ranking by WalletHub is #27. Texas was followed by Nevada (#27 ranked) and Florida (#14 ranked!) that spent the least per student. Florida third from the bottom in spending ended up in #14 in ranking for student success by WalleHub. All three spent less than 9K dollars per student.
    See state rankings on spending per student at:

  • AK Fish says:

    Nevada was ranked at 39 not 27 by WalletHub. Correction.

  • Shelia says:

    No money without accountability. Save money? Rid the schools of grooming, CRT and the rest of those programs that do nothing to prepare the students for work in the economy. Get the state out of parental prerogatives and get back to reading, writing, arithmetic, history, and critical thinking. And demand results for every dollar spend. Period.

    • Friend of Humanity says:

      Sheila, you support Dunleavy. I’d be interested to see what you have to say over on the board talking about Dunleavy participating in the globalist’s net zero carbon program.

      • DaveMaxwell says:

        I volunteered for dunleavy four and a half years ago! I regret to admit it. He fooled me! The next round I didn’t vote for him, even with multiple people trying to convince me that he will be different/ better/ more courageous! He is in fact all those things! None of what he is doing do I support!

  • Friend of Humanity says:

    This is promising news!