by Representative Tiffany Zulkosky
We are in the third week of the 2019 Legislative Session. This week the Governor released his Supplemental Budget. Of significant concern to our rural district are Governor Dunleavy’s suggested cuts to the Village Public Safety Officer (VPSO) Program and K-12 education funding.
The budget cut suggested for the VPSO program is nearly $3 million, which amounts to over 20% of the overall program budget. As I traveled throughout our region this summer, I heard over and over the need for increased resources for the VPSO program and strategies that recruit/retain qualified individuals. In many of our remote communities, there are no emergency or first responders of any kind. This proposal is alarming and does not uphold promises of increased public safety resources for Alaskans.
The cut suggested for K-12 funding threatens a bipartisan compromise reached at the end of the 2018 Legislative Session to increase education dollars that have long been flat funded. This mid-year cut would impact every school district in Alaska, many of whom have already put those dollars to use. In our district alone, the cuts would result in the following funding reductions:
•Lower Kuskokwim School District, $1.056 million
•Lower Yukon School District, $563,553
•Yupiit School District, $128,114
•Kuspuk School District, $113,797
As discussions about organization continue in the House, I remain unwavering in my promise to defend equitable funding of crucial state programs for our district – including public safety, education and health + social services.
I continue to meet with constituents and research policy proposals related to public safety, affordable energy, child welfare and more. If you will be in Juneau and would like to request a meeting, or cannot make it here but would like to set-up a call with my office, please let us know!
I feel privileged to continue working on behalf of neighbors and communities in the YK Delta.
Scholarship + Event Opportunities
Does your organization provide scholarship or event participation opportunities to individuals throughout the state and rural Alaska? Are you looking for support to share this information?
Rep. Zulkosky would love to learn about scholarship and event participation opportunities available through communities, non-profits, and other organizations, in an effort to share that information with others!
Community Events Calendar
Does your community have an event or celebration coming up? Is your organization hosting a gathering in House District 38 that you would like to let your state delegation and others know about? Rep. Zulkosky would like to stay in touch about the happenings in and around your community.
Last week I had the opportunity to visit with Alaska Legal Services Executive Director Nikole Nelson. Alaska Legal Services is a non-profit that offers free civil legal services to 197 communities across Alaska.
In 2018, in the Bethel area alone, Alaska Legal Services provided support to 923 people. Of that group, 99% were Alaska Native, 61% were women, 21% were victims of domestic violence, 20% were elders, and 20% have disabilities.
Alaska Legal Services partners with several local organizations, housing an ICWA staff attorney at AVCP, a mental health attorney within the Public Defenders, and a general attorney in Bethel.
If you would like more information on how to access Alaska Legal Services, visit: https://www.alsc-law.org/apply-for-services/
Planning has begun for the 2020 Census. This count results in the distribution of $675 billion of federal funding each year. In Alaska, the Census results in the receipt of roughly $3.2 billion of federal dollars. An accurate count ensures equitable distribution of federal funding.
Alaska Natives are one population most at risk for being undercounted in 2020. In the 2010 Census, Alaska Natives and Americans were undercounted by nearly 4.9%. This undercount means $3,000 in federal funding is lost each year for every Alaska Native individual who goes uncounted.
Yugtun qalartetukuvet ikayuryugluten-llu, qayagauryugngaavkut maani Representative Tiffany Zulkosky-m caliviani!
Please reach out to my office at 1-800-323-4942 or (907)465-4942; Address: Capitol Building Room 416, Juneau, AK, 99801; Phone: (907) 465- 4942, Toll-Free: (800) 323-4942; Email: [email protected]