JUNEAU (AP) — Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy has proposed cash payments for teachers as a way to address recruitment and retention concerns, the Anchorage Daily News reported.
Some lawmakers suggested the teacher bonuses proposed by Dunleavy could lessen the urgency for a school funding increase. But it doesn't address a broader problem, said Tom Klaameyer, president of NEA-Alaska, a major teachers union.
"Yes, we have a teacher recruitment and retention problem, but we have a bus driver recruitment and retention problem, we have a superintendent recruitment and retention problem. Principals, administrators, clerical, classroom aides, paraprofessionals, nutrition specialists," he said. He is advocating for an increase in the school funding formula.
Dunleavy is proposing bonuses ranging from $5,000 per teacher for the state's urban districts to $15,000 for the state's most rural districts, which would be distributed once a year, at the end of the coming three school years. Dunleavy said the goal would be to study the impacts of the bonuses at the end of that period.
Teachers in the Ketchikan School District would receive $10,000 bonuses per year under that plan.
But Ketchikan Superintendent Michael Robbins said on Wednesday that, between an increase to the funding formula and teacher payments, the district would prefer the formula, as it would be easier for the district to plan around compared to supplemental funding.
He elaborated: “We’re for any funding for education. Our preference would be for a (formula funding) increase.”
Daily News Staff Writer Sam Stockbridge contributed to this story.