Judge authorizes public school funding amid lawsuit
Alaska schools will receive their monthly payments from the state thanks to a Superior Court judge ruling issued Wednesday.
The ruling answers a joint request from the Legislature and the Department of Law, which sought court authorization to fund public schools while a lawsuit over the funding gets resolved.
On Tuesday, the Legislature sued Gov. Mike Dunleavy in the Juneau District Court over education funding, an expected move in the lawmakers’ budget dispute with the administration. For months, the two sides have disagreed over how the Legislature last year funded education for the upcoming school year.
The Legislature believes it had the authority to early fund this year’s budget under House Bill 287, which passed last year. In a May memo, Alaska Attorney General Kevin Clarkson called that kind of forward funding unconstitutional. The two sides, however, agreed on one thing: funding should not be held up while they sort out other differences.
So, on Wednesday, Superior Court Judge Daniel Shally signed the order approving the joint motion for money to be disbursed.
“We recognize the importance of the constitutional question presented to the court on this matter, but also want to ensure that Alaska’s schools receive funding while this litigation proceeds,” Clarkson said in a statement.
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