- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 11, 2014

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - The House Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee heard a bill Tuesday on gathering educational data on military family students for use by deployment families coming to the state.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Dan Saddler, R-Eagle River, calls for the Alaska Department of Education and Early Childhood Development to work with local school districts in gathering data on the educational performance of students of military families.

The data would be used in creating an online subgroup that families about to be deployed to Alaska may review and determine which school districts they want their children to attend.

The price tag for the state would be $80,000 for starting the effort and $10,000 per year afterward, according to the attached fiscal note.

The bill would result in Alaska being one of seven states collecting student data for the U.S. Department of Defense.

“You’re asking the state to pay for gathering data for the military,” said Rep. Pete Higgins, R-Fairbanks. “We’re paying for things that don’t give us value.”

Mark San Souci, liaison for the U.S. Department of Defense, pointed out to the committee that in 2013 the Defense Department awarded $1.5 million to the Alaska State Department of Education and Early Childhood Development and $48,000 to the Delta Greely School District.

San Souci also said the Defense Department has budgeted $25 million for local school improvements if they have students of military families.

Sixteen local Alaska school districts currently have a combined total of 11,336 students from military families.

The bill advanced to the House Education Committee.

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