Prop B: The $397 million question

Jeremia Schrock
Sun Star Reporter

On Nov. 2, university students will have the opportunity to vote on a ballot proposition worth $397.2 million. If passed, the measure would allow the state to issue general obligation bonds for various educational facilities around the state. If the bonding measure passes $88 million (one-fifth of the total) will be issued to UAF.

Most general obligation bonds are funded through raising property taxes, however Prop B will be funded from both the states capitol budget and the states general fund.

If passed, Prop B would allocate funding for the university to “replace small and outmoded buildings and laboratories now used by students and for research at the campus” reports the Alaska Journal of Commerce. Some of the buildings replaced may include several ATCO modular units that currently house the Alaskan Basic Neuroscience Program.

Y.E.S. on Prop B, a group that has underwritten several adds in support of the proposition, includes among its list of donors UA chancellors Fran Ulmer and Brian Rogers, UA president Pat Gamble and UAF provost Susan Heinrichs. The UA Foundation, as of September, had donated $450,000 to the effort according to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (FDNM). The FDNM, along with the Anchorage Daily News and Homer News, have written editorials in support of Prop B.

The remaining $309 million would be allocated to several other library and educational facilities throughout the state. That number includes $128.5 million for replacing or renovating three rural K-12 schools in Alakanuk, Kipnuk and Kwigillingok. Also included in the proposition is funding for a $20 million swimming pool in Sitka’s Mount Edgecumbe High School, $18 million for a state library, archive and museum in Juneau, as well as an athletic facility on the UAA campus worth an estimated $60 million.

The proposition was originally introduced to the State House of Representatives on April 7, 2010 where it was approved by a vote of 40-0. The measure was subsequently sent to the State Senate where it was approved with a vote of 20-0 on April 18.

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