Education

High Gasoline Prices Fuel K-12 Windfall

By Sean Cavanagh — June 07, 2005 1 min read

The following offers highlights of the recent legislative sessions. Precollegiate enrollment figures are based on fall 2004 data reported by state officials for public elementary and secondary schools. The figures for precollegiate education spending do not include federal flow-through funds, unless noted.

Alaska

While most of the nation curses higher oil and gasoline prices, Alaskans reap the benefits, with new money flowing into the coffers of the petroleum-rich state.

Yet even as that new tax revenue helped legislators increase overall aid to schools, lawmakers angered many teachers and labor groups by approving a controversial change in Alaska’s retirement system for state employees and K-12 instructors.

Gov. Frank H. Murkowski

Republican
Senate:
8 Democrats
12 Republicans

House:
14 Democrats
26 Republicans

Enrollment:
131,000

The Republican-dominated legislature ended a special session in May after increasing school funding by 5 percent over the current fiscal year, to $849 million for fiscal 2006. The per-pupil portion of that school spending, increased by roughly $70 million, from $4,576 to $4,919—or 7.5 percent.

Much of the session’s most heated debate centered around the vote to change the state retirement system from a defined-benefit plan to a defined-contribution plan, for all public employees and teachers who begin work after July of next year.

Gov. Frank H. Murkowski, a Republican, and lawmakers who backed the switch argued that it would allow future employees potentially greater benefits by letting them put money into the new, stock-market-based system. They also say the change will help reduce costs to the state, which now has $5.7 billion worth of unfunded liability in its retirement systems. (“States Facing Fiscal Strain of Pensions,” May 18, 2005.)

Opponents of the plan include the Alaska affiliate of the National Education Association, which says the change will result in less financial stability and higher costs for future K-12 instructors.

Let us know what you think!

We’re looking for feedback on our new site to make sure we continue to provide you the best experience.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Future of Work Webinar
Digital Literacy Strategies to Promote Equity
Our new world has only increased our students’ dependence on technology. This makes digital literacy no longer a “nice to have” but a “need to have.” How do we ensure that every student can navigate
Content provided by Learning.com
Mathematics Online Summit Teaching Math in a Pandemic
Attend this online summit to ask questions about how COVID-19 has affected achievement, instruction, assessment, and engagement in math.
School & District Management Webinar Examining the Evidence: Catching Kids Up at a Distance
As districts, schools, and families navigate a new normal following the abrupt end of in-person schooling this spring, students’ learning opportunities vary enormously across the nation. Access to devices and broadband internet and a secure

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Great Oaks AmeriCorps Fellow August 2021 - June 2022
New York City, New York (US)
Great Oaks Charter Schools
Great Oaks AmeriCorps Fellow August 2021 - June 2022
New York City, New York (US)
Great Oaks Charter Schools
Data Analyst
New York, NY, US
New Visions for Public Schools
Project Manager
United States
K12 Inc.

Read Next

Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: December 9, 2020
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of articles from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of stories from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read