In a joint meeting between the Anchorage Assembly and the Anchorage School Board on Friday, Assemblyman Forrest Dunbar went for the legal jugular. Now is the time to sue the State of Alaska for funding shortfalls that the school district expects to materialize in the 2024 budget, he said.
Dunbar explained to the group that when he was a law student in Connecticut, (Yale Law School), he and some professors helped high school students sue the State of Connecticut for more funding for schools, and succeeded in bringing in “significantly more funding for education.”
He’d see something similar in the works for Anchorage.
“I don’t think there is the political will in the Legislature to do what needs to be done in terms of equity for our kids,” Dunbar said. “If we’re looking at a fiscal cliff in 2024, litigation should start this year.”
Many parents removed their students from the public schools in Anchorage during and after the Covid pandemic shutdowns, after seeing firsthand the poor education their students receive from the Anchorage School District. There are fewer than 43,000 students in the Anchorage public schools this year, down from 46,734 in 2018-2019 — 3,734 fewer students, or an 8 percent decrease in enrollment.
“Dunbar wants tens of millions of more dollars. From the moment I was elected this has been an issue. And there has been no movement at all,” Dunbar said. He said that the school district should set aside tens of thousands of dollars for such a lawsuit.
“I see it differently,” said Stephanie Taylor, who is running against Dunbar for Anchorage Assembly. “It’s not about the money. Anchorage schools are at the bottom of the barrel nationwide in terms of outcomes, but have some of the highest expenditures per student.”
Listen to Dunbar gear up for a lawsuit at this link: