The following offers highlights of the recent legislative sessions. Precollegiate enrollment figures are based on fall 2005 data reported by state officials for public elementary and secondary schools. The precollegiate education spending figures do not include federal flow-through funds, unless noted.
Legislators approved a scaled-back version of a pay-for-performance system for school employees and provided new money for a statewide mentoring effort for teachers and principals during this year’s session.
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The Republican-controlled legislature approved an incentive-pay plan that will give school employees cash rewards for improved student scores on state tests. Certified employees, such as school administrators and teachers, will be eligible for up to $5,500 a year, while noncertified staff members, such as custodians, can collect up to $2,500 annually.
Gov. Frank H. Murkowski, a Republican, and state Commissioner of Education Roger Sampson, both of whom supported the incentive plan, had sought a broader effort that could be implemented across all districts. But legislators, citing cost concerns, decided to approve the incentives on a three-year trial basis and funded it at $5.8 million for next school year.
The overall budget for K-12 schools will increase by 12 percent, to $920 million, in fiscal 2007. The legislature approved an additional $35 million in assistance to school districts, said Eric Fry, a spokesman for the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development.
Lawmakers also provided $4.5 million for the state’s 2-year-old program that provides mentoring to new teachers and coaching to new principals.
A version of this article appeared in the July 26, 2006 edition of Education Week