September 6, 2008

Education Week Clears Up The Confusion On Palin and Special Ed Funding

Again... Sara Palin DID increase Special Education Funding.  On the charge that she cut funding:

"... these charges against Palin are false, driven by a misreading of the budget documents for the state.

The "proof," as has been presented, is 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."


Anonymous said...


Again, I must repeat what I said in response to your post yesterday.

Yes, Palin did raise the funding for the ACYA. This is the series of four seperate programs I refered to yesterday.

Yes, it was given it's own seperate line in the budget.

However, that still leaves LESS money for all the non-ACYA programs. The programs for special-needs people who aren't school age children.

Just think about that for a moment. All the adults. All the teens. All the infants.

Sarah Palin cut the funds for THOSE people to get help.

Don't those people matter too?

I realize that as the parent of a school-age special needs child you're more likely to focus on what Palin did to help children Chandler's age. I understand that.

That doesn't change the fact that she still cut funding for special needs services as a whole.

Anonymous said...

Also, the author of the piece you quoted from admitted in the comments on the article that...

a) she did not consider the whole budget for special needs education (to say nothing of special needs programs in general) - just the ACYA program funding.

"I got a direct email from someone who was upset that I wasn't talking about special education budget as a whole."

b) she didn't do any research into seeing what other special needs programs Palin or the Alaska legislature may have cut when creating the budget.

"I also don't mean to suggest that there are no other programs that the governor or the legislature may have cut even while raising spending overall; I just don't know enough about Alaska governance to say."

Again, Palin cut the OVERALL funding for ALL special needs programs.

And personally I don't think an increase for one series of programs aimed at special-needs children in school negates the harm she's inflicted on special needs people of all ages.

erin said...

that program - "a boot camp" - is that really for special needs kids?

i thought that kind of thing was for behavioral problems.

Anonymous said...


Good question. I've checked with two other bloggers, including a fellow librarian and none of us can find any information on the Alaskan Challenge Youth Academy, save that it might be connected to the Alaska Military Youth Academy and is part of something called "Project Challenge" - which appears to be something akin to a "scared-straight" program for juvenile offenders.

Not exactly an increase in materials for the Special Education classes, is it?

erin said...


So - is there a way to tell how much changed for actual special needs services?

Since the 2007 budget first included the Alaska Youth Challenge boot camp - can we really tell how much changed?

Because, it wouldn’t make sense to just add them back together after they were split- which is probably why they got separated….anyone? Cause, unless you can break down the first number and know what went towards the Youth Challenge…looks to me like you can’t tell what went where.

And that boot camp from what I found too starmanmatt, it's through the National Guard and is not for special needs kids - it's a program for at risk kids to finish high school & have career training. Perhaps for some people who see our kids as behavior problems there's no difference...

Anonymous said...


You can't. I'm trying to find complete numbers and just keep finding other discussions about how there was an increase in funding for the AYCA and how the 62% cut figure is inaccurate.

All true. But it doesn't look like the funding for anything else has been increased either. And we know from a separate scandal that Palin cut funding for housing/job training for unwed teenage moms and that the same housing program catered to special-needs adults.