Governor announces funding for Rural School Construction
Governor Sean Parnell announced last week that his FY 2013 budget will contain $62.4 million for school construction in Emmonak and Koliganek. The governor made the announcement at the 2011 Alaska Federation of Natives Convention in Anchorage.
“For many years, our rural communities have had legitimate grievances in the area of education,” Governor Parnell said. “Out of respect for you, I have listened, learned, and taken seriously your concerns. I heard how some rural schools were in pitiful, unsafe shape.”
Governor Parnell has pledged to support funding the five highest priority rural school construction projects over the coming years. In the FY 2012 budget, $28 million is allocated to renovate the Quinhagak school and $33 million will replace the school in Napaskiak. The governor noted a positive trend: In 2007, more than 3,500 Alaska Native students attended the University of Alaska. Today, that number has increased to more than 4,400. Nearly one-third of Alaska’s 2011 high school graduates earned Alaska Performance Scholarships.
Governor Parnell also thanked the many volunteers who coordinated the 64 Choose Respect events this year, and announced the goal for 2012 is for 100 Alaska communities to host Choose Respect rallies, sending a strong message to abusers that enough is enough.
“I want you to know, and I pledge to you today, that we will not rest so long as the epidemic of domestic violence and sexual assault steals the hopes and dreams of Alaska’s women, children and men,” Governor Parnell said.
In his speech, the governor outlined the advancement of the largest energy package in Alaska’s history and stressed the need to secure Alaska’s energy future.
“We have been pumping from the same fields for 30-plus years. With so much oil in the ground that you own, and that we count on for essential public services, I refuse to stand by and leave Alaskans’ treasure buried in the ground,” he said.