Alaska has a primarily student-based funding formula. It assigns a cost to the education of a student with no special needs or services, called a base amount. It then accounts for the additional cost of educating specific categories of students: both through program-specific grants, and by applying multipliers to the base amount to generate supplemental funding for certain students.
The categories of students generating supplemental funding through the application of multipliers to the base amount are disabled students, students in vocational education programs, and students in sparsely populated districts. Services for students identified as gifted and students in bilingual education programs are funded through program-specific allocations.
Alaska has a fixed base funding amount per student. For FY2015, the per-student base amount was $5,830.
This means that an average student with no special needs or disadvantages would be funded at that level.
|Expected Local Share||
Alaska expects school districts to contribute revenue to the funding of public schools. The amount each district is expected to raise for its education costs is based on its property values: each district is expected to contribute $2.60 for every thousand dollars of assessed local property wealth for the purposes of funding its schools.
Once the state calculates the total amount of funding necessary to educate students within a district, it subtracts the expected local contribution and provides the difference in the form of state education aid. However, school districts in Alaska that choose to do so may raise less or more money locally than the expected amount.
However, there is a limit to the amount of money that school districts in Alaska are permitted to raise locally. It is capped at an additional $2.00 per thousand dollars of property wealth, or up to 23% of the amount of funds calculated by the state to be necessary to educate the students within the district, whichever is greater.
Alaska does not differentiate student funding based on grade levels.
Alaska provides increased funding for English language learners. It does so through a program-based allocation for bilingual and bicultural education.
In order to qualify for the funding, each school district in Alaska must file a plan with the state’s Department of Education indicating the bilingual education services it intends to provide.
Alaska does not provide increased funding for students from low-income households.
Alaska funds special education using a census-based system, assuming that a set percentage of students in each district will require special education services and using each district’s full enrollment count to determine the amount of special education funding required.
The state provides supplemental funding for special education by multiplying districts’ actual enrollment by 1.2, and then providing the state’s regular per-student funding on the basis of each district’s inflated count rather than its true student population. In order to receive this supplemental funding, districts must file a plan with the state indicating what special needs services will be provided.
Districts also receive separate funding for students who require intensive services; these students are counted and the number is multiplied by 13 in the overall tally of students, so districts effectively receive 13 times the per-student base amount for each such student.
Alaska provides additional resources for gifted and talented students. It does so in the form of a non-competitive grant.
To qualify for these grants, districts must file a plan with the state department of education detailing the services to be provided to gifted students. Qualifying districts then receive funds from the state to help cover the additional costs outlined in their respective plans.
|Career and Technical Education||
Alaska provides specific funding for career and technical education programs. It does so by multiplying districts’ actual enrollment by 1.015, and then providing the state’s regular per-student funding on the basis of each district’s inflated count rather than its true student population.
This funding is provided automatically to all school districts and is intended to cover the costs of career and technical education.
Alaska does not provide increased funding based on the concentration of students from low-income households in a particular district.
|Sparsity and/or Small Size||
Alaska provides increased funding for the sparse districts and small schools. It does so by applying a multiplier applied to the base per-pupil amount for students in sparse districts (the multiplier can range from 1 to 2.116, depending on the district’s geographic size) and by grouping small schools together for funding purposes.
Every other year, the Department of Education sets the value of the multiplier for school each school districts, subject to approval by the legislature. Alaska also groups small schools together for allocation purposes, based on community student population. Communities with less than 425 students are allocated funding based on the estimated number of school facilities appropriate for the community size. For instance, communities with 101 to 425 students are provided funding based on the state's assumption that they have one K-6 grade school, and one 7-12 grade school.
Alaska also funds correspondence students at 90% of the funding that district would have received for the base funding of an otherwise present student.
Funded: State Policy Analysis
A Detailed Look at Each State's Funding Policies
Below, see summaries of the state’s education funding policy in each issue area. Click the Expand icon next to any summary to see more detail, if available, about that state’s policy regarding that issue area. Click the Citation iconnext to any summary to see the sources of the information regarding that issue area.