Photos: Frustration in the air at Anchorage Legislative Town Hall

On Saturday, March 9, Anchorage residents packed UAA’s Cuddy Hall for a Legislative Town Hall. After a brief introduction, the microphone was passed from the legislators at the front of the room to members of the public, where it remained for the remainder of the event.

Participants voiced concerns over a range of topics, from Anchorage’s energy security to the danger of artificial intelligence. But the focus of the day, without a doubt, was education. Speakers repeatedly cited low pay and insufficient incentives for new teachers, large class sizes, and maintenance backlogs at schools. Many speakers encouraged legislators to fund public schools and override a widely-anticipated veto of a bill that increased school funding by Governor Mike Dunleavy (R – Alaska). Some speakers also spoke favorably about Anchorage’s charter schools and school choice.

Outright criticism of the Anchorage School District (ASD) was rare but also present. Stephanie Taylor, a former conservative candidate and activist,  called ASD one of the worst-performing districts in the nation, eliciting a round of pent-up applause largely from the back of the room.

A video of the event, which was also livestreamed, is available here.
Photos are available for download and free public use via the Landmine’s Flickr account.

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Jacob Bera
1 month ago

There was a lot of testimony in favor of fixing Alaska’s retirement system for public workers (SB 88). Teachers are in a particularly difficult spot, since they don’t have Social Security or SBS. And if they came from the private sector or another state, their Social Security benefits are reduced by the WEP/GPO.