Commentary: The state betrays Alaska students

By Pete Hoepfner
For The Cordova Times

Why are the governor and portions of the legislature holding children and their higher education hostage over the funding of PFD?

Dear Alaska state legislature, I congratulate you on coming together for the well-being of the whole state of Alaska, from commercial fishermen worried about shutting fisheries to real estate agents who would not have been able to close sales, and everyone in-between, state workers that would have had their jobs ended. Alaska doesn’t need this chaotic environment especially on the heels of the pandemic. There has been enough chaos already.

But the work is not done, and the back-patting over passing the “effective date” was a no-brainer, and should not have taken as long as it did, but there are self-proclaimed “obstructionists” in the leg, stalling the state out, creating further chaos and crisis for Alaskans and their children.

Does anyone realize that the “reverse sweep” is still in play? For the second time under Gov. Dunleavy. And one of those 53 accounts is the Alaska Performance Scholarship. This scholarship, created and promoted by Gov. Parnell, gives students in high school reasons to excel, so that they can go to college. By striving and attaining excellence in high school, students can receive up to $4,700 in scholarships. With reverse sweep, these scholarships are void.

The state is not honoring its obligations to the students. The next special session starts Aug. 2, and UAF starts Aug. 23. Can you imagine how students feel, placed in limbo, after they just experienced the worst year-and-a-half ever. Why does the governor want to govern by threatening students and their higher education?

I am appalled at the abhorrent actions that this administration has taken.

And these actions from the governor who was a teacher, principal, superintendent, and sat on the Mat-Su School Board, for the second time, pulling students’ hopes out from underneath their feet. This is absolutely no way to govern.

And I won’t say anything about the state again cost shifting by cutting their promise of paying for school bond debt reimbursement, cutting it to an astonishing 30% of the promise they made, abysmal behaviors, and showing the lack of concern of the citizens of Alaska.

Pete Hoepfner is a resident of Cordova, Alaska.