David Boyle: There is no equity for more than 17% of Alaska’s students — the ones who are home schooled



Superior Court Judge Adolf Zeman has kicked a hornet’s nest and those hornets, home school parents, are mad as hell. 

With his decision, Judge Zeman started a battle between parents who want the best education fit for their children and the education industry that wants to protect its institutional turf — the brick & mortar schools.

Home school parents are waking up to the facts. 

One judge with the flick of a pen did away with the pittance of financial assistance homeschool parents used to get. Now these parents understand that their children aren’t “worth” as much to the state when it comes to funding their children’s education.

The constant cry of equity from the teachers’ unions and school boards seems not to apply to homeschoolers. There is no equity in state financing of these correspondence students.

Here is one parent’s testimony to the legislature: “This bill does not pass the equity test. It clearly discriminates against one group of public — school children in an effort to defund and drain the correspondence programs.”

There are 34 correspondence/home school districts in Alaska. These districts provide educational choice for more 22,289 students this school year. 

This is more than 17% of the total K-12 students in Alaska. And it is with fear that school districts are seeing more parents opting for home school over their failing brick and mortar schools.  

The State saves lots of money by parents enrolling their students in a correspondence program. So, how are parents and their students being short-changed when it comes to funding from the State of Alaska?

It all comes down to the formula that funds K-12 education. Brick & mortar students end up being multiplied while correspondence students are reduced by 10%. That means a brick & mortar student is “worth” more than a correspondence student.

This is how the student counts compare for school year 2023-24 (ADM is the Average Daily Membership or actual student count, AADM is the Adjusted ADM):


Some of the correspondence schools are part of the brick-and-mortar school districts while others are unique districts by themselves.

Another way to look at it is a correspondence student is only valued at 90% of the Base Student Allocation.  So, that student is only worth $5,364 and no more. But the brick & mortar student gets multiplicative factors such as, “special needs”, CTE, and intensive services that are in the funding formula.

Here is a listing of the correspondence schools with the largest student populations, the number of students, and correspondence student state funding only:

District *     # Correspondence StudentsCorrespondence Student State Funding ** 
Anchorage (3)*1,863$9,993,000
Galena (IDEA)7,215$38,701,000
Fairbanks (B.E.S.T)945$5,069,000
Kenai (Connections)1,104$5,922,000
MatSu (3)*3,155$16,923,000
Nenana (CyberLynx)1,860$9,977,000
Yukon-Koyukuk (Raven)3,188$17,100,000

(*indicates the district has more than one correspondence school).

 (**90% of the Base Student Allocation times the actual number of students). 

What would happen if the home school parents took all 22,289 of their children out of the correspondence programs?  Anchorage, Fairbanks, Kenai, and the MatSu would lose about $38 million.

That is a very powerful number. And that threat by many home school families is valid. Here is a quote from a parent’s testimony to the legislature:

“There are many reasons we choose to homeschool. Should these changes pass, we will not be putting our kids in brick-and-mortar schools, or even the correspondence schools with these unfathomable changes to the AK constitution. I will independently homeschool. I will say again, the government doesn’t own my children. Please, oppose SB 266 and HB400”.

Here’s one more chart that compares the per student costs for correspondence students versus the per student costs for brick & mortar students:

DistrictCorrespondence Per Student CostsBrick & Mortar Per Student Costs
Galena $4,512$5,869

As you can see, home school families save the State of Alaska tons of money while still tailoring learning plans to each individual’s needs. 

Hypothetically, if the correspondence program were discontinued and all the students joined the brick & mortar schools, then the State would have to come up with millions more dollars to fund those schools. Using the Anchorage per student cost that increase would be about $371,981,121.

And what would that number really be if the education industry’s chant of “raise the BSA” were to happen?

Home school parents have saved the State of Alaska millions of dollars over the years.

Home school parents have the power and leverage to control the outcomes in this battle for their children’s futures.

This is a battle for funding equity and parental choice which pits the education industry and the NEA-AK against parents.

Every one of the 22,289 correspondence students is not just a number. Every one is a person who wants a future where he/she can be prosperous, happy and a productive member of this great nation.

This parent’s testimony to the legislature sums up the feelings of most home school parents:

“I will not consider educating my children in our neighborhood schools and will not hesitate to remove my children from the public school system entirely in order to meet their educational needs”.

And one more parent’s testimony:

“Don’t let anti-homeschooling legislators and the teacher’s union damage educational freedom here in Alaska”.

You, too, can help decide who wins this battle.  Join the parents as the hornets that Zeman kicked now swarm to protect the home school programs in Alaska.

Contact your legislator on SB266.

Contact your legislator on HB400 and the constitutional amendment — HJR28.

David Boyle is the education writer for Must Read Alaska.


    • As a now medically-retired teacher for 20 years from THIS school district, It’s quite clear that none of you have ever set-foot in a public classroom or Defended the public education, as it’s DECADES OF “Pack’em CHEAP, Teach’m Cheap” MSBSD MOTTO 20+ YEARS! while you all DID NOTHING while
      watching ASD Succumb to the same fate as GOV helped DESTROY schools with a 7-period Middle/HS schedule for a 6.5 hour contact day (one of the lowest in the nation), without adding time or compensation, and cutting teachers in already OVER -CROWDED conditions while we drowned in Oil Revenue. That could’ve made the best schools in the country PERMANENTLY ! YOUR current governor has made a POINT for 13 years to FORCE his constituents (you know WE THE PEOPLE HE stole PFD futures from to bribe VOTERS 2x, stole their taxes/oil revenue to give HIMSELF/Buy-off his legislature, and won’t allow opposition to stop his destroying our state 65 yr LAWS no one requested ) to PAY FOR , Far
      -right,Xian?, Intelligent DESIGN OVER SCIENCE schools we all pay to create& operate with our taxes. Dunleavy could have repeated the 2020-2021 school year allowing everyone to Catch up after PANDEMIC he wasn’t around to support his DYING, sick, hospitalized and massively increasingly, Poverty-stricken citizenry. He should know as an “educator” himself how it was needed due to 2 years loss of CONTINUOUS curriculum & why our students are so behind today. But nope, instead, he knew it would make schools crash that much sooner. So he kept cutting funding, happily child abusing/neglecting as he goes as a “family values” kind of GUY 🤣😂🤮. he’s under Florida Orders. Not
      One child is getting a decent education bc there are a bazillion ways to get a diploma but now much less accountability for how or what or how much children are learning. People here like to believe they don’t need to stand up for your children against this abuse by ATTENDING School Board meetings & not screaming fake rage issues like CRT, but listening & learning a demanding BETTER for all not just YOUR KID for we all have to live together and work for or with one another or we perish. Don’t jut yank a kid out, plunk them somewhere and rail about how unfair their child is being treated while, of course, blaming Educators and their super weak UNION which won’t lift a finger to stand up for ITSELF. you don’t want to know the truth, b/c Lies are so much easier & fit your narrative. Reagan declared War on Pub education promising Your children the worst education (by defunding it heavily) so you’d demand private (or homeschool), never questioning accountability for the cost of these schools. And the ultimate goal was to keep CHILDREN ISOLATED and segregated to solve the “ PROBLEM of “integration,” and it has. this 30-year experiment still doesn’t educate the majority of students in the state because it’s not designed to do so it just LOOKS like it is! They just took what reg Education had and gave it these Almost fully private taxpayer-funded, privately run/operated in 44 states, charters. And yes even if PUBLICLY Owned and Operated “ if it ACTS PRIVATE, it is PRIVATE!” CHARTERS. They deny children all the time as “not fit” esp children with LEARNING DISABILITIES. They will never educate the majority of students because that would defeat the purpose of “Sep but Equal?” community isolating and DIVIDING! It’s Anti-poor -parent, barely educating its CHILDREN on purpose! The goal is to destroy PUB education by FORCING private thru THEM & training the electorate to just hand over money to corps creations believing it’s good education with zero data to prove its worth it or that can even aS FULLY PROFICIENT & critically thinking as reg education schools, in spite of far higher & enormous obstacles today. reg pub education has proven for centuries, to educate each generation better and more inclusively each generation until 1980s.Thomas Jefferson first developed it in hope that a well-educated CITIZENRY would make for a better gov of Intelligent, open-minded, TOLERANT and peaceful and economically prosperous NATION for ALL. All you have to do to make a district the BEST, is demand smaller class sizes for ALL. Problem then solves itself with far less cost, waste or risk and most importantly community/family Connected GOVT that works for All not just the rich.


  1. A total waste of time reasoning with Rep. Ortiz, a retired, (Thank Goodness) teacher, a former leader of our local NEA. Dealing with him on education as a school board member was a lesson in temperament. So, on this subject, not a chance, he is, in my opinion, a rabid militant NEA supporter.

  2. I’m confused by your reporting – why is Judge Zeman to blame, why not Dunleavy and the legislature that knowingly passed unconstitutional statutes? Do they not have any accountability for this “hornets nest”?

    • You don’t understand the far right, it is always someone else’s fault. They claim they want “law and order” just not the laws that they don’t like. Those laws should be changed to fit their needs. Dunleavy and his lackies knowingly violated the Alaska Constitution and now they are willing to burn down all education in the name of “parental choice”.

      • You don’t understand the left, it is always someone else’s fault. They claim they want “law and order” just not the laws that they don’t like. Those laws should be changed to fit their needs. Biden and his lackies knowingly violate the US Constitution (they even admit to it prior) and they are willing to burn down the Republic in the name of their agenda.

    • Susie, the unconstitutionality of the case has not yet been determined. It must go through the process–the AK Supreme Court. NEA-AK filed the case way back in January 2023! Why did it take the judge so long to make his decision? Was it a matter of timing–waiting till the end of the current school year so as not to impact home schoolers so much? Why didn’t the NEA-AK file the case in 2014 right after the current law was passed? You need to ask the NEA-AK those questions. Senator Dunleavy and the legislature did not knowingly pass an unconstitutional law. The AK Constitution only prohibits DIRECT funding of non-public schools. INDIRECT funding is NOT prohibited. Meanwhile, Alaskan children are stuck in the morass of mediocrity called the K12 public school system.

      • One small correction, David:

        When it goes to the AK Supremes, the homeschoolers / correspondence students and families will lose. It will then get punted to federal court which will find that provision of the AK constitution unconstitutional per Espinoza v Montana Department of Revenue, 2022.

        Zeman’s opinion is dead man walking, though it will be damaging for a few years, not that the NEA or their cheerleaders care. Only question is how badly the AK Supremes will allow the state judiciary they lead to be embarrassed in federal court. Cheers –

  3. I wish more parents were involved and could see the truth. This is all about power and money has nothing to do about the kids or their education. These adults in the room just want the money and the power and don’t give a rats ass about the kids or their schooling. Wake up Anchorage, parents and vote these power-hungry thieves out.

  4. The problem with this fantastic article is only homeschool families and conservative families are reading it. If this education could be shared on the liberal media sites like Ak newsource and ADN, maybe there would be more traction.

  5. Judge Zeman was very clear when he issued the stay of his decision until the end of FY24 that correspondence/homeschool programs in Alaska will continue as they have since territorial days. The only thing that has changed is the allotment program that some parents have been using to pay tuition at private and religious schools.

  6. I am with you.

    But “equity”? Please do not use our enemies language. Orwell has many a great wrote on how language is the gateway to tyranny.

    • Generally, I agree with you. OTOH, when you start using the Other Side’s language against them, you are taking a page out of Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals, the Bible of the Left these days.

      Rule 4: Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules

      Cheers –

      • > Rule 4: Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules

        But time and time again they prove that the rules do not apply to them, or they have changed the rules. All is in service to “The Message” and power.


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