Mat-Su educators concerned by Dunleavy's cuts

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MAT-SU VALLEY, Alaska (KTUU) - Teachers with the Mat-Su Education Association are expressing concern over Governor Dunleavy’s time in office so far.

Some current and former members say that Dunleavy doesn’t have K - 12 education as a priority.

“My first response was that he clearly didn’t support public education,” said Dianne Shibe, president of MSEA. “The cuts show that public education isn’t his priority.”

Shibe was an educator when Dunleavy was the president of the Mat-Su School Board. So were teachers Nancy Blake and Prudence McKenney.

“He was one of the big supporters of school bonds,” Blake said. “And now, his first year in the position, he’s just yanked that out.”

“The governor’s approach here, in looking exactly at data expenditures and revenue, is that we simply don’t have sufficient funds to provide the continued services that we have in the past,” said Dunleavy’s press secretary Matt Shukerow.

The educators expressed concern on forward funding, worried about the districts ability to recruit and retain teachers.

“It’s not a way to run a business, and definitely not a good way to run an education system,” Blake said.

“You can’t cut your way to greatness, it’s not a viable option,” McKenney said.

Shuckerow said that the Governor has a sincere focus on education and that Dunleavy is currently working on conversations to reform the system.

“The idea that more money will produce a better outcome, but as we know that is not necessarily the case,” said Shuckerow. “And so it does require a collaborative conversation. The governor recognizes that in part which is why he delayed the funding conversation until later this year.”

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