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### Utilizing Statewide Survey, Governor Advocates for Educational Reform

JUNEAU, Alaska (KTUU) – Governor Mike Dunleavy highlighted a recent state poll, conducted post his veto of an education bill, aimed at gauging public sentiment on education in Alaska. The survey, carried out by Dittman Research at a cost of $37,000, encompassed 810 participants from diverse backgrounds across the state.

The findings indicated a shared belief among respondents, with 77% backing an increase in the base student allocation (BSA). However, the emphasis on reforming the education system (57%) surpassed the priority given to augmenting education funding (33%) for enhancing educational outcomes.

Moreover, public charter schools garnered significant support, particularly in utilizing excess capacity from other public schools (73%). While 64% favored a higher allocation of funds to public charter schools, a bonus incentive program for teacher recruitment and retention received approval from 71% of those surveyed.

Despite the positive reception of the survey results by the governor, concerns were raised regarding the demographic composition of the respondents. Only 38% of participants had school-age children, with a smaller percentage (19%) having children in charter schools. Senator Bill Wielechowski questioned the absence of key inquiries in the poll, such as the issue of state control over charter schools and the specific amount the BSA should be set at.

The ongoing debate in the legislature revolves around Bill HB 392, which proposes granting the state board of education the authority to approve new charter schools and a $680 BSA increase. However, the provision related to teacher incentives was removed due to its contentious nature among lawmakers.

Governor Dunleavy’s advocacy for teacher bonuses ranging from \(5,000 to \)15,000 faces scrutiny over funding feasibility, with estimated costs of approximately $180 million over three years. The bill now awaits review by the House Finance Committee before advancing to the House floor.

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