Important education legislation signed into law

Back row, left to right: Sen. Joe Paskvan, Education Commissioner Larry LeDoux, Sen. Joe Thomas, UA President Pat Gamble, Sen. John Coghill, Doyon VP Jim Johnsen and Rep. Mike Kelly. Front, left to right: Regent Erik Drygas, Gov. Sean Parnell, Doyon President Norm Phillips and Regent Cynthia Henry.

Gov. Sean Parnell signed a handful of education bills into law on June 21, 2010 in Fairbanks, and many university officials and friends were on hand to witness the signing. 

Senate Bill 236, sponsored by Senate Education Committee Chairmen Kevin Meyer and Joe Thomas, increases tax credits for contributions to Alaska’s higher education and job training institutions, with a new cap of $5 million for qualifying donations.

House Bill 424 allows Alaskans to vote on general obligation bonds to pay for educational and university facilities. The plan would, if approved in the November election as Bond Proposition B, finance a number of public projects across the state, including $207 million in UA projects. Those projects include:

* Mat-Su classroom/auditorium

* UAA athletic and education facility

* UAF Life Sciences classroom and lab facility

* KPC student housing

* KPC career and tech ed center

* Prince William Sound Community College renovation/renewal

House Bill 184 adjusts the current debt cap for the University of Alaska.

Gov. Parnell also signed Senate Bill 235, which increases opportunities for charter school creation. It also allows the Department of Education and Early Development to compete on behalf of Alaska Charter Schools for national facility maintenance and start-up capital grants available through the U.S. Department of Education. Alaskan charter schools have not been able to compete for those grants.

The last bill the governor signed extends the reimbursement program for new school construction, and establishes a rural school construction program. The program will steady  the flow of school-construction dollars going to rural, unincorporated communities.


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