Articles written by Lisa Phu

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  • Years of flat state funding create budget stress for schools across Alaska

    James Brooks and Lisa Phu, Alaska Beacon|Nov 10, 2022

    The Anchorage School District, which is considering the closure of six elementary schools amid a projected $68 million budget shortfall, isn’t the only district facing a major fiscal problem. At the end of the last school year, Fairbanks closed three schools. In Juneau, the school board is considering whether to fire specialists intended to help students recover reading skills lost during the COVID-19 pandemic. In rural Alaska, districts are trying to balance their books while dealing with high transportation and heating costs. Local and s... Full story

  • Sitka assembly member and former Hoonah mayor compete for House seat long held by Kreiss-Tompkins

    Lisa Phu, Alaska Beacon Writer|Oct 6, 2022

    A Sitka assemblymember and a former Hoonah mayor are competing for the Alaska House of Representatives seat being vacated by five-term Sitka Democrat Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins. Though nonpartisan candidate Rebecca Himschoot had an edge over Republican Kenny Skaflestad in last month’s open primary – about 54% to roughly 46% – it’s a difference of 373 votes. Voters in Sitka overwhelmingly favored their assemblymember – 1,059 votes for Himschoot to 552 for Skaflestad. Voters in Hoonah cast more votes for their former mayor and city council m... Full story

  • How 26K+ votes left to be counted could impact the race to finish Don Young's term:

    Lisa Phu, Alaska Beacon writer|Aug 25, 2022

    At least 26,400 votes are still left to be counted in the Aug. 16 election in Alaska. Democrat Mary Peltola currently leads the special general election race to fill the remainder of the late Congressman Don Young’s term with about 38% of the votes counted so far ranking her first. The remaining more than 60% of votes are mostly split between two Republican candidates. Whoever comes in third place in this race will be eliminated first under the state’s new ranked choice voting system. While it remains to be seen how the uncounted votes mig... Full story

  • Right to abortion in Alaska remains protected, but advocates say it's fragile

    Lisa Phu, Alaska Beacon writer|Jun 30, 2022

    The U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade today, ending the federal right to abortion and putting access to it in the hands of states. In Alaska, abortion remains legal through the state constitution's provision on privacy, but abortion-rights advocates say that right is fragile. And they say that access to abortions in Alaska is already inequitable. "The big takeaway is abortion is still safe and legal in Alaska. All of the options that existed yesterday exist today in Alaska," said Rose... Full story