To the editor: I am sure there has been an influx of letters regarding the budget, but I believe that this is a testimony to how much of a mistake the governor’s approach to our budget is. I am both a student and an employee of the University of Alaska Fairbanks and thus have a vested interest in the outcome of this in regards to myself, my peers, and my coworkers.
I grew up in the generation in which we were not encouraged, but expected, to go to college. Many positions in fields that fuel our state, and our nation, require at least four years of schooling, if not more. A reduction of this size, on the heels of repeated cuts over the last few years, will cripple our university system. UAF is a premier research institution that leads the world in Arctic research, our engineering programs are in the top 200 of schools nationwide, and our arts programs are the pulsing heart of Fairbanks.
The governor’s veto will drive students, professionals, researchers, and their families from the state, a tremendous loss no matter how you try to spin it. Not only is higher education a target, but a program designed to help K-12 schools with needed construction and improvements is also under fire, as well as early learning programs that are proven to help underprivileged children. All of this, while still touting a $3,000 PFD shows that education isn’t a priority to this administration, which is disheartening to say the least. Industry is important, but it is not more important than our future.