Libraries, homework help funds restored

Recall effort continues, with over 29,000 signatures collected

Several thousand people gathered at outside the Alaska Airlines Center on the University of Alaska Anchorage. Photo by Margaret Bauman/The Cordova Times

Funding for the state’s Online with Libraries program and Live Homework Help that were deleted with other line item vetoes in the state’s operating budget will be restored, Gov. Mike Dunleavy said on Friday, Aug. 16.

The $670,900 for the libraries and $138,200 for homework help are the latest steps back for the governor, who earlier slashed millions of dollars from the state’s operating budget.

The online program for libraries, also known as OWL, provides state funds which together with federal and local funds builds the capacity of public libraries statewide to support broadband Internet services and supply videoconferencing capability. The program also helps students who need access to computers after school by enhancing access at public libraries.

Live Homework Help offers online tutoring services to help students do better in their courses, participate in statewide programs including the Alaska Performance Scholarship Awards, and prepare for post-secondary success.

Last week Dunleavy backtracked on millions of dollars in line item vetoes for funds for the University of Alaska and early education.

Dunleavy and UA officials announced that they had reached a multi-year deal for a $70 million cut in state funds over a three-year period to replace a one-year $136 million reduction in state funds. Dunleavy praised the step-down approach as a way to
provide our communities, campuses and students the certainty they’ve been asking for, while also taking on the serious challenge of reforming the university into a more efficient system.”

UA President Jim Johnsen had a more somber response, calling the $70 million cut serious.

“It will require careful review and streamlining of administrative structure, academic programs, and services to ensure that resources are focused on student access and achievement,” he said.

The governor also last week said he would restore several million for early education funds. These include $6.8 million in Head Star grants, $1.2 million in Early Education grants, $474,000 to Parents as Teachers grants and $320,000 in Best Beginnings grants.

Meanwhile statewide an effort to recall Dunleavy as governor continued. Bu Aug. 15, the group leading the recall effort announced they had collected 29.577 signatures in just two weeks. All they need to qualify for the next step is 28,501 signatures from registered voters, or 10 percent of the total number of people who voted in the last election.

Assuming the petition is certified, recall backers would then have to launch a second petition drive to get the signatures of 71,252 registered voters, or 25 percent of all those who voted in the last election, to get on recall effort on the ballot.