Gov. Bill Walker’s proposed budget calls for the elimination of a $2 million pre-kindergarten program, which serves six school districts in Anchorage, Juneau and Western Alaska.
The pre-K program is free to qualifying low-income families and, according to Deputy Education Commissioner Les Morse, has seen considerable success in its six-year run.
“There is solid data around its success,” said Morse. “We specifically looked at various different assessments on students in terms of their performance as well as the delivery by districts. It’s really been very successful. The largest problem with the program is that we really haven’t been able to grow it. So it really continues to serve the same number of students and the same dollar amount that it did during its pilot phase.”
Gov. Walker’s proposed education budget would also delete $820,000 in grants for other early childhood programs, and it would reduce funding for the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program by $385,000 dollars.