Fairbanks education receives a positive start to the school year

Published: Aug. 11, 2018 at 7:32 PM AKDT
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Members of the community joined together yesterday in support of our local schools, for the annual 'Positive Picketing for Teachers' event at Lathrop high school.

It was a special day for Fairbanks education. Residents from all over the borough joined together to give teachers a VIP entrance to the school year, having fun along the way.

On this day, CEO of the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce, Marisa Sarrah joined in as a positive picketer.

"Positive Picketing is a great event for our community to come together and rally around our teachers and other support staff in our school system and just give them a nice warm welcome on a somewhat chilly day back to school so that they can kick off their year knowing that they're supported," she said.

And inside, teachers were greeted with yet another surprise. Alaska Governor Bill Walker signed four bills into law - House Bill 212, House Bill 213, Senate Bill 185 and Senate Bill 216.

H.B. 212, expands the Regional Education Attendance Area fund uses to include new school construction and major maintenance, and also direction the Education Department to create a regionally based model school construction standard.

H.B. 213, establishes the Education Endowment Fund and creating a dividend raffle, which will allow Alaskans the option of buying raffle tickets with their PFD: 75 percent of donations will go toward education, and the rest will be distributed to winners. H.B. 213 also transforms the Public School Trust Fund to a percent of market value management approach.

S.B. 185, allows school districts to rehire retired teachers and S.B. 216, lowers the size and cost of government by allowing an adjustment to the K-12 funding formula when schools consolidate.

Governor Walker claims that no longer will education be tied to the price of oil.

“Sending out pink slips, wondering if the school is going to be funded or not, we should never be in that position again. It's not a matter of we just survived it or got through it we actually fixed it,” he said.

Signing legislation proving to an auditorium of 900 educators that the importance of Alaskan education has not been forgotten.

Along with Positive Picketing and the signing of legislation, Superintendent Karen Gaborik also received the award of Superintendent of the Year.