Tomorrow (August 28) and Thursday are the first two meetings of the House Task Force on Sustainable Education, established this past legislature by House Resolution 8 and co-chaired by Rep. Lynn Gattis, Chair of the House Education Committee, and Rep. Tammie Wilson, Chair of the House Finance Committee Subcommittee on Education and Early Development. Andrew Halcro and I are serving as representatives of the business community.
Tomorrow’s meeting starts at 2p; Thursday’s meeting starts at 9a. The agenda is available here. The meetings will be webcast on AlaskaLegislature.tv. Materials will be available through the file folders available here (Wednesday) and here (Thursday).
The main purpose of the task force “is to examine and make recommendations to the State House in January 2014 about the funding of public education.” As the resolution establishing the Task Force makes clear, one of the relevant factors in that regard is the state’s current fiscal outlook and its effect on education funding.
To help set that context, as part of the initial meetings I am scheduled to make a presentation Thursday afternoon on the sustainability of the Alaska budget, and what the options are for dealing with that. As readers of these pages might anticipate, the presentation will focus significantly on the work done on the subject by the University of Alaska-Anchorage’s Institute for Social and Economic Research, and in fact, my presentation is a mash-up of slides from my “fiscal policy stump speech” and recent presentations by Dr. Scott Goldsmith of ISER. The slide deck is available here and at the link above.
Earlier in the day (as in tomorrow morning), I will be a guest on The Casey Reynolds Show to discuss the Task Force, Alaska’s fiscal situation and, no doubt knowing Casey, deal with Amanda Coyne’s “Loose Lips” column yesterday. Casey’s show is broadcast locally on KFQD FM 103.7/AM 750 and available on the web here. I am joining him for the 8:30a segment. We will see how that goes.
The Task Force has an important mission; I am looking forward to its work.