• Alaska School District Cost Study (2005 Update)

      Hill, Alexandra; Berman, Matthew; Tuck, Bradford (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2005)
      The Legislative Budget and Audit Committee of the Alaska Legislature has asked The Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) at the University of Alaska Anchorage to make certain changes and adjustments to the Geographic Cost of Education Index (GCEI) that the American Institutes for Research (AIR) constructed and reported on in Alaska School District Cost Study (January 2003). The requested changes address a number of the questions and criticisms that were raised by ISER in its review of the AIR study (A Review of Alaska School District Cost Study, January 29, 2004). The specific tasks included updating data sets, adjusting the index for actual energy costs, and reviewing travel and budget share assumptions. The most significant task was to address deficiencies in AIR’s certificated personnel compensation component that had been identified in ISER’s initial review. ISER was also asked to re- estimate the overall cost index, once other tasks were accomplished.
    • Economic Significance of the Alaska Railroad

      Tuck, Bradford; Killorin, Mary (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2004)
      This report estimates the economic effects of Alaska Railroad spending in Alaska, for both operations and capital projects. The Alaska Railroad is a major part of the transportation network in Alaska and also between Alaska and the Lower 48. It connects with rail service from the rest of the U. S. and Canada via its port facilities in Whittier and ships coal and naphtha to Asia via the port of Seward. The railroad carries both passengers and freight, but it is freight that accounts for most of the railroad’s operating revenue. It carries large volumes of a variety of freight. In recent years, petroleum products the railroad hauls from the North Pole refinery to the Anchorage area have made up much of its freight volume. For many years it carried several hundred thousand tons of coal per year between Healy and Seward, for export to Korea, and it continues to haul coal from Healy to Fairbanks. It also hauls a significant portion of the gravel used in the Anchorage bowl from the Mat-Su Valley. The railroad is able to carry these large volumes of freight more efficiently and at lower cost than trucks—and so it facilitates current economic activity and can help make future developments feasible. Our estimates of the economic effects of railroad spending in Alaska are based on annual average spending of $108 million from 2001 through 2003. If railroad spending increased, it would support more jobs and income; if spending dropped, it would cost the state jobs and income.
    • How Much Different Are Costs Amongst Alaska School Districts?

      Tuck, Bradford; Berman, Matthew; Hill, Alexandra (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2005)
      The big differences among Alaska’s school districts—in remoteness, climate, community amenities, and energy sources—also mean big differences in school operating costs. ISER’s new estimates of the geographic cost differences among Alaska’s 53 districts range from 7 percent to more than 100 percent above costs in Anchorage. The existing differentials are set in state law and have been used since 1998; the legislature will decide whether to adopt any changes. Keep in mind that the differentials are just one factor in a complex formula used to determine aid for individual districts. That formula begins with a base amount per student, for students in all districts, that the legislature sets each year. The proposed differentials are higher than the existing ones, which range from 1 to 70 percent above Anchorage’s costs. This summary is based on a more detailed report, Alaska School District Cost Study Update, by Bradford Tuck, Matthew Berman, and Alexandra Hill.
    • A Review of Alaska School District Cost Study

      Tuck, Bradford (2004)
      The Alaska Legislature’s Legislative Budget and Audit Committee asked the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) at the University of Alaska Anchorage to review the Alaska School District Cost Study. The American Institutes for Research (AIR) prepared that study for the legislative committee. The study was to provide a “geographic cost of education index” that the state could use to help equalize the purchasing power of educational dollars it allocates to school districts across Alaska. Costs of living can vary substantially in different areas of Alaska. The study, in two volumes plus supplemental materials, was released in January 2003 and supplemented in February 2003. Also, in a response dated April 11, 2003, AIR answered a number of questions that had been raised about the study.
    • Rural/Non-Rural Determination for Federal Subsistence Management in Alaska; Analysis of Economic and Community Infrastructure Variables Relatives to the Determination of Rurality.

      Tuck, Bradford; Fischer, Victor (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2002)
      This report presents alternative methodologies for identifying rural and non-rural areas for federal subsistence management in Alaska. The report develops two alternative methodologies for distinguishing rural and non-rural populations in Alaska for federal subsistence management. The methodologies use measures drawn from the federal decennial census and the State of Alaska’s harvest records, among other relevant data sources. An overriding goal of the project was to use a minimal number of criteria that clearly, effectively, and defensibly distinguish between rural and non-rural populations. The two methodologies are tested on a selection of Alaska communities. It is the final report for the project, Rural/Non-Rural Determinations for Federal Subsistence Management in Alaska (Contract No. 701811CO58), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Alaska Region.
    • Supplemental To Analysis of Socio-Economic Aspects of Specified Year 2000 Redistricting Questions

      Tuck, Bradford (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2000)
      This material supplements a document prepared for the Alaska Redistricting Board in May 2001. This supplement discusses certain socio-economic linkages relative to the Final Plan and Proclamation of Redistricting, prepared by the Alaska Redistricting Board in June 2001. It relies on the same exonomic concepts and methodology used in the initial analysis, including central place theory and interindustry economics. It addresses four issues(1) the integration of the Delta area with the rest of House District 12; (2) the socio-economic integration of Valdez with the rest of the House District 32 and the Anchorage ares; 93) the socio-economic integration of House District 37; and (4) linkages between Cordova and the rest of House District 5.
    • Task 1 and 2 Reports to the Regulatory Commission of Alaska: Affordability Factors and Affordability Standards

      Tuck, Bradford; Schwartzberg, Lisa (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2006)
      Because affordability is essentially an issue of fairness, or equity, it is ultimately the task of the public policymaker to define “affordability” and to indicate factors to be considered in measuring “affordability.” We look first at factors that might be considered in discussing affordability. The FCC has addressed the issue of affordable universal service in some detail and has suggested principles that should be taken into account when policymakers attempt to determine affordable rates for telephone service. Major portions of that discussion are incorporated into Section II of the Task 1 report. Identification of potential variables that might be used to measure the factors influencing affordability is contained in Section III, and is organized around identified factors. Additional material is included in the appendix. Consideration of alternative affordability standards is incorporated in the present report, as well as suggestions we received from carriers in Section IV. Summary comments and observations are presented in Section V. Task 2 collected and analyzed a broad range of data, including extensive information from the 2000 U.S. Decennial Census and other U.S. sources, data from the Regulatory Commission of Alaska, survey results from Alaska Local Exchange Carriers, and other state sources.