Monday, September 08, 2008



But, while Palin was governor, did she slash special education funding from the state's budget? That was the latest charge that was flying around the Internet soon after her speech, and a reader has posted the same criticism of Palin on this blog. I've seen the same critique from posters on several Web sites now, all of whom seem to suggest that while Palin courts the disability community on the one hand, she's cutting the budget for needed services on the other.

From what I can tell, however, these charges against Palin are false, driven by a misreading of the budget documents for the state.

The "proof," as has been presented, is the part of the fiscal 2007 budget for the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development, which includes funding for the Alaska School for the Deaf, students who are patients at the Alaska Psychiatric Hospital, and the Alaska Challenge Youth Academy, a statewide, boot-camp-style program. The budget that year was $8,265,300.

But the next year, fiscal 2008, the budget is shown as $3,156,000, leading to the accusation that Palin cut the department's budget.

The difference in funding, however, is because the Alaska Challenge Youth Academy moved to a budget line item of its own. In the fiscal 2009 budget, you can see that the academy alone has a budget of $6,082,100. When you add that to the $3,156,000 that is being spent on all the other projects, it adds up to $9,238,100--an approximately 12 percent INCREASE in spending on all those particular programs, put together, since fiscal 2007.

So... not.

OTOH, this is nice:

1 comment:

Doug Noon said...

A news story from the Anchorage Daily News (Jan. 2008)says that "Gov. Sarah Palin has proposed to the Legislature that the state increase its contribution per severely disabled student to $50,220 by 2009, and by the year 2011, it would increase it to $77,740. A legislative task force, made up of about a dozen Republicans and Democrats, has recommended similar amounts." According to the article, this is a significant per student increase from the previous $27,000 the state was spending.

The State government is enjoying a budget surplus now, due to the per barrel price rise in the last year.
Spending a budget surplus isn't a politically difficult thing to do.