No school choice: Anchorage School District reneges on promises made to correspondence school parents


With just a month before school starts, families who have children enrolled in some charter correspondence programs and private schools were shocked to learn that the Anchorage School District is clawing back their financial allotment for students.

Alaska’s Correspondence School Allotment Program allows eligible families to be reimbursed up to $4,500 per student enrolled in classes at the private school of their choice.

In the past, a student could be enrolled at Family Partnership Charter School, and dual enrolled at a private school, such as Montessori. Families would be able to use their “funding follows the child” allotments to pay for some of the costs of educating their children outside the Anchorage School District’s standard system.

Then, earlier this year the Anchorage School Board stripped Family Partnership Charter School of its charter, even though it is the most well-attended charter school in the state and has the highest educational outcomes of any school in the district, owing to its unique structure. The vote was 6-1, with Board Member Dave Donley the only one opposing the takeover of Family Partnership.

At the time, Jharrett Bryantt, the superintendent of the Anchorage School District said that parents would not see much change, even as the charter school was consumed by the district and would lose its independence.

The school board also made promises to the parents attending meetings that the funds dedicated for Family Partnership Charter School would stay with the school, and not be swept into the district’s other fund pools, even as it came under the district’s supervision and command structure.

The superintendent said it was time to earn the trust of the families whose children were enrolled through the Family Partnership Charter School.

“It is time to pivot our focus to supporting the Family Partnership communities, and earn the trust of all families to choose the wonderful opportunities that Family Partnership offers. It’s time for us to begin the healing process, and that won’t happen overnight,” Superintendent Bryantt said in a public meeting in April that was attended by many concerned parents.

But according to a new memo from the district, that was then.

Now, the school district is saying that if a student is dual enrolled at a place like Family Partnership, Frontier Charter School, or AK Choice Charter School, and full time at a private school, they will receive no allotment.

For some faith-based schools, the curriculum that involves faith is separated out, while in others, the faith-based portions are infused throughout the curriculum. But parents in those programs were always allowed to bank their allotment (public money from local, state, and federal taxes) and use it for either extra-curricular enrichment such as hockey, or for a high school program where the classes involving faith are separated from other classes. Parents with children at Grace Christian were banking the funds so that as their students moved into high school, they would have those funds to pay for classes.

This is a “funding follows the child” approach that made Family Partnership unique in its excellent education outcomes.

But it’s not just religious-based schools. The parents cannot use any of their allotment for any full-time private school education, according to the district.

On June 25, the principal of Family Partnership wrote to parents, saying:

“I am writing to inform you of a recent clarification regarding the use of homeschool allotments for private school classes. Please see the attached memo for clarification. In short, full-time private school students are ‘not permitted to use their allotment to pay any portion of the private tuition or to supplement the student’s private school education.’ This means that full-time private school students will not be provided with an allotment. Part-time private school students may use ‘half or less’ of their allotment for non-sectarian private school courses. Thank you for understanding.” 

The attack on private education by the Anchorage School District comes at a time when private school enrollment is going up, and the enrollment in traditional Anchorage public schools is dropping. Parents have voted with their feet to remove children from low-performing school environments that are controlled by the National Education Association and are pushing gender ideology, and critical race theory on their children.

The new memo from Director of Charter Schools Dr. Jason Hlasny to all the correspondence schools in the district explains the district’s interpretation of the Alaska Constitution. Under the district’s interpretation, the parents of the correspondence school students can continue to “buy” courses from private schools, but cannot be enrolled more than half time.

“The purpose of this memo is to clarify district and administrative procedure consistent with the Alaska Constitution, Alaska Statute, and the July 2022 Deputy Attorney General guidance as it relates to the appropriate implementation and use of student allotments and private school education.

“Under Alaska law, correspondence schools receive funding through the local school district in which they reside. In turn, correspondence schools usually allocate an allotment of funds for each student, which the student can spend for certain materials to fulfill a student’s individual learning plan.

“The Alaska Constitution provides: ‘No money shall be paid from public funds for the direct benefit of any religious or other private educational institution.’ The Alaska Legislature has provided that student allotments for correspondence students may not be used for sectarian services or materials. Alaska law requires each school district to ensure that allotment monies are not used in a manner that violates Alaska law.

“The following are uses of allotments not permitted by the Anchorage School District:

  • “Student is enrolled as a full-time student at a private school and the student’s allotment is not permitted to be used to pay any portion of the private tuition or to supplement the student’s private school education.
  • “More than half of a correspondence student’s allotment is not permitted to be used to pay for private school tuition, materials, and fees for non-sectarian classes.

“Any portion of the allotment is not permitted to be used to pay for sectarian courses or materials.

“The following are uses of allotments permitted by the Anchorage School District:

  • “Student is enrolled in a public correspondence school and half or less of the student’s allotment is permitted to be used to pay for part-time enrollment to take nonsectarian courses at a private school.
  • “Student is enrolled in a public correspondence school and the student’s allotment is permitted to be used to pay for extracurricular activities such as swimming lessons, attendance at music or drama performances, or participation in athletic competitions.”

The Alaska Policy Forum will hold a webinar on Monday to help people learn about some of the options Anchorage families have outside of the district. Register here to join the webinar.


  1. Class action lawsuit. Violation of state law, breach of contract. When the district publicly stated to parents it would continue to support the correspondence schools when they stole the money from one school they disenfranchised last year, in order to steal their money, that was a legal contract.

    • 100% agree Robert. If their practice was to allow families to practice this way for nearly 25 years, including allowing families to rollover unspent funds year after year with the plan to spend those remaining dollars when they have the most impact (high school), then the prudent move would have been to allow those families time to adjust and use those rollover funds. Changing policy moving forward for next school year, fine; stupid, but fine. However, parents who have been banking funds can and should launch a class action lawsuit. Its bait and switch, and its millions and millions of dollars in the wind. Never mind its counter to what the Superintendent promised them just a few months ago. There is definitely an argument here, and the dollars involved are substantial to ASD and meaningful to families. Shame on the ASD for rolling this out the way they did. This isn’t what’s best for kids, no matter how you slice it. If a lawsuit is launched, I will be signing on to it.

  2. Show of hands: who’s surprised?

    Classic shutting down of competition the system can’t compete with.

  3. Welcome to the democrat union world. If you thought they would honor their word you haven’t been paying attention. Anchorage is a deep blue “city”, and socialism rules!

  4. What, who took the training wheels off of the superintendent? This ill prepared professional college student from the Houston Independent school district needs to go back to where he came from. Oh wait, the state of Texas roll over the district because it was failing horrendously.

  5. Classic … Bait-N-Switch!!! These are the types actions that continue to diminish any amount of trust and confidence in Government Institutions & Agencies. And, beings that so many throughout our communities work directly and/or indirectly for Government Institutions & Agencies, I would imagine that those within the private sector, especially those who’re getting jerked around, may start to see them as enemies or adversaries?!?! A classic … Us vs. Them.

  6. Although not close to the details, I am not surprised by the betrayal. When an operator like Jharrett Bryantt uses a word like “pivot” it is clear sign that the dagger will be taken in hand and used. This will not be the last time we see such maneuvers from this School Board and Superintendent.

  7. The Anchorage School Board is so out of touch with the people. Perople need to get rid of the NEA union and vote out a lot of the current school board. After all they still have 84 million dollars of covid money right?

  8. Only good thing to come about this steal is parents and legislators will expedite education vouchers. Finally! Homeschool families aren’t just Republican, Christian, and Conservative; a lot of the other Homeschool families are Democrats and Leftists who know how to talk to Democrat lawmakers such as Sen Dunbar and Loki. Wait for it. Let the Democrat homeschooling parents get mad. They will do all the work for their Republican and Christian counterpart so they all can save money.

  9. That is a clear violation of the US Constitution, which forbids limiting the free expression of Religion. Leftists simply say you can’t, so you can’t, do your own religion. It’s lies, and damned lies.

  10. I would recommend every parent ensure their children are in private school full time.
    It is worth it, your childrens future is worth saving.
    This will ensure the school district and its woke union pedo trans equity for all drag queens can be taught in kindergarden. You parents are in the way if the woke transformation by the NEA and public schools of your children. The only weapon you have is keeping your kids out of public school.
    Hey all you moms and dads, how about get your vote out there and stop voting for margo and the woke mob on he school board. While you are at it, WAKE UP, the local assembly is also after your kids… i now have to worry about my grandkids.

    • Well! If you raised your adult children well enough, your grandkids are in competent hands raising them. A grandmothers role is pray and see her home is the next best place to heaven as her grandchildrens earthly sanctuary; a place where when mom and dad get confusing grandma gives wisdom, where mom and dad are panic grandma gives self control and self discipline, where mom and dad are short tempered grandma gives patience, where mom and dad are critical grandma gives kindness and love, where mom and dad hurry hurry hurry grandma gives peace, where mom and dad are worried, grandma gives the peaceful confident assurance under God’s guidance all will turn out well for those who love God, where the grandchild’s world is topsy-turvy, at grandma’s the child knows who they are. If a grandchild is being raised by confused lost parents, then grandparents role are don’t further isolate and alienate themselves from their adult children because of differences of opinions for the sake of the their grandchildren. Like the grandkids the grandparent learn to respect the parents so the parents out of fear don’t isolate further from the grandparents.

  11. It appears as if Superintendent Bryantt (who is still learning to be a superintendent for another year) has lied to all the parents and Anchorage citizens. This is a total breach of trust and one or two board members ( including Margo Bellamy who brought Bryantt to ASD) should be recalled. Parents, focus on this. Otherwise, remove your children from the ASD and take all the state & federal money to the MatSu School District. You owe this to YOUR children.

    • This move by the ASD places ASD correspondence programs dead last in the state and walks back 25years of best practice. Heed David’s advice, move your children out of ASD. I for one cannot in good conscience support an entity that publicly lies at every opportunity, and then plays dumb when called out for it, even though its all in writing! Either they knowing lie, or the people making these decisions are morons. Either way, I gave them a chance, and now I’m done. Vote with your wallet, your feet, and your votes folks. The ASD apparently can’t even manage their way out of a paper bag.

  12. Very difficult to maintain a quality public school system with all this double dipping of funding resulting in, wealth-management organizations, voucher nonprofits and individual schools promoting “double-dipping” is very draining to public schools on a lot of fronts.

    • Quality education… you mean the public school sysytem?!? Hahaha… the failure of the education system is not because there is diversity in the education opportunities.

      It is a poor education because of the leftist ideaology that has rotted the leadership to the core.

      Homeschooling is extremely affordable… my mom was a single parent and she found ways to get good curriculum and a good community and we thrived.

      I am not anti-teacher… they are slaves to the public system that needs to be torn down and rebuilt.

  13. This clearly shows the standard school district statement that “It’s for the children” is a lie just like every thing the left says. If the children were first and not the money then we would have choices and the school district would be broken up. Clearly it’s about money and the administration. Parents need to start neighborhood home schooling with the kids first. Get out of the indoctrination of your kids future. The school district already is telling your child how to life and what they can and can’t do in life. That’s not the schools job.

  14. Anchorage School District MO has always been better to hire outside. So no surprise Bellamy and her followers hired Sup”t Bryantt (who had to be trained by Bishop) would make the decisions they do.I would have voted to hire Frank Hauser former principal of the year at Service and Sup’t at Sitka. So you vote for Bellamy you
    get what you vote for. My question is how much did Bishop get for salary training Bryantt? Her salary for Sup’t was around $200.000. Bishop was retiring to be at home. Ha Ha. and is now the Commissioner of Education. Sounds to me like an inside deal. Doesn’t it make one wonder about the corruption in the Anchorage School District?? They are free now to indoctrinate not educate children. Can’t wait til the next results of testing 4th graders in Math and Science.

  15. In light of Gov. Dunleavy vetoing over $90 million in education funding ASD made a choice to not send money to private schools. Quite clear in the State Constitution in black and white that ASD would prevail in any MRAK troll lawsuits about private school funding.

    • Clearly this was political, and a classic cut off your nose to spite your face action by ASD. This program cost the ASD nothing, rather it brought in millions in revenue and profit. And, it has far reaching ripple effects into other ASD programs that aren’t mentioned in this article. I think you’ll see legal action. Parents have rollover money from previous school years that the ASD is now no longer allowing them to access. At minimum, those funds should be released.

  16. Clearly a political move. Instead the administration should have to account for wasted COVID funds and take salary and expense cuts. It always the teachers and kids who suffer. That veto was not a reduction… clearly ASD cannot perform now matter how much money we throw at them.

    What purpose would there be to deny parents and children diverse education options… communist mindset?

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