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Students Protest to get More Money for Schools

Published On: Jan 31 2014 09:24:35 PM AKST   Updated On: Jan 31 2014 12:00:00 PM AKST
Students Protest to get More Money for Schools

A Facebook movement called Students With a Voice is gaining momentum with Anchorage students.

Steller 11th grader Bridget Galvin started the group with the goal of getting lawmakers in Juneau to increase the base student allocation, or the BSA.

It's also a way for those in Juneau to hear what some students want to happen to education.

Friday afternoon, Galvin stood waving signs with Bartlett High School 9th grader Brendan Gerdts on the corner of Northern Lights and the Old Seward Highway. More students trickled in, picked up signs and started to wave at the cars.

The governor proposed an increase to the BSA.

He also supports a Senate resolution that would allow voters to change the Alaska Constitution, paving the way for the Legislature to direct public money to private and religious schools.

The students say their voices are being lost in the battle over student funding.

"I think vouchers are a terrible idea. You're basically taking money from the public system in order to give to those few who can go and get to private school," Gerdts said.     

Galvin has been a student in the ASD since kindergarten.

"We think it's important that students are (not) turned into profit centers," Galvin said, "and that we shouldn't be portrayed as dollar signs and that's why we don't support private school vouchers. That's why we support public education."     

Governor Sean Parnell's office released a statement saying, in part, "the governor has emphasized how important it is for Alaskans and their legislators to engage in a public discussion about education reform as the bill makes its way through committees. He welcomes public dialogue on educational opportunities for Alaskans."

Editor's Note: Gov. Sean Parnell says the issue of school funding and the Senate resolution modifying the Constitution are issues that will be considered separately. This story has been corrected to accurately reflect Parnell's position.