By Dave Donaldson
The Senate has also created a dedicated funding stream for high school vocational education programs to train students for the jobs that might be available to them when they graduate.
Fairbanks Democrat Joe Thomas says the bill provides a $38-million increase to be shared among local schools using the base student allocation formula. More than eleven million dollars of that money will go to vocational-education programs.
Thomas says he’s learned that in some school districts vocational education programs have to compete with other programs for enough money to keep them going. He says they are usually classified with courses for special education, bi-lingual and gifted students.
Legal mandates require districts to offer certain special education programs, and often those required programs take a huge amount of the money – leaving little time and money left over for vocational education. We’ve seen this is many schools as they’ve closed down and shut their programs off. We also know that the vocational and technical aspects keep a lot of kids in school, rather than them deciding that at the age of sixteen they can quit school they can go out and find a job.
The Bill next goes to the House for consideration.