Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy, a Republican who was elected partly because of his experience as a public school educator, proposed a budget this year that would slash more than a quarter of the state’s $1.6 billion education budget.
The proposal has outraged the state’s school officials who say if the budget is passed as it stands now, they will be forced to lay off scores of teachers and cut crucial programs.
The state is heavily dependent on oil revenue and, because oil prices haven’t rebounded as much as expected in recent years, the state has had to consider ways to reduce its costs.
Cuts to K-12 spending over the last three years resulted in the state’s education department laying off more than a third of its staff.
Before becoming a politician, Dunleavy served as an elementary school teacher, principal, and a superintendent of the Northwest Arctic Borough School District.
A version of this article appeared in the March 13, 2019 edition of Education Week as Alaska Gov., a Career Educator, Proposes Slash and Burn K-12 Budget