An Alaskan Education Group Is Getting Ready To Sue The State Over School Funds


A charity in Alaska is getting ready to sue the state for not giving public schools enough money after the Legislature failed to override Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s veto of the bipartisan education bill.

The bill included a $680 raise to the Base Student Allocation, which is part of the formula that decides how much state money schools get. It would have been the first big change to the way the state pays for schools since 2016.

It is Caroline Storm’s job to run the Coalition for Education Equity of Alaska. She said it’s likely that the charity will still file a lawsuit even if the Legislature does change the way money is given.

Storm said, “It’s clear that the Legislature isn’t living up to its constitutional duty to keep the public school system running smoothly.”

Alaska’s courts have said in the past that the state has a constitutional duty to fund schools properly.

When it comes to money, the Coalition for Education Equity has sued the state before. It made a deal with the state in 2011 to end the state’s unfair school building practices. The group questioned whether Alaska’s public school system helped failing schools enough, and the case was settled again in 2012.

Storm said that schools are having a hard time because the state isn’t giving them enough money. It has caused class sizes to grow in cities. In more rural places, the effects include school buildings that need repairs that have been put off for too long, like the Jack Egnaty Sr. School in Sleetmute on the Kuskokwim River, where students are currently attending classes in a building that has been declared unsafe.

Storm said that the charity wants the state education department’s budget to be changed and adjusted for inflation every year, just like the budgets of other state departments. They also want the Base Student Allocation to be raised.

“We need to make the BSA resistant to inflation, and lobbying has not worked.” “I guess we’re up against a wall,” Storm said. If the courts are the only thing people will listen to, then that’s all we have left.”

Storm said that the board of nonprofits decided in November to get ready for a case, and they are now figuring out when to file.

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