Not so fast: Dunleavy appeals to Alaska Supreme Court, requests postponement of Alaska judge’s ruling against correspondence, home school funding

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PETITION LAUNCHED, AND A HEARING ON HOUSE BILL 400 IS SET FOR FINANCE COMMITTEE

The Alaska Department of Law will file a request with the Alaska Supreme Court to extend the enactment date of a Superior Court judge’s ruling against state in a matter that may irreparably harm tens of thousands of students and parents in Alaska.

Judge Adolf Zeman said in his ruling in April that the state cannot pay for correspondence classes for Alaska students because it is unconstitutional.

He later granted a stay of his own ruling at the request of the National Education Association, which had brought the lawsuit in the first place, before the NEA realized the political firestorm that would result from pulling funding from as many as 24,000 students in Alaska and their tens of thousands of parents.

But Zeman’s stay was miserly in that it only means students and families can finish out the school year under the current law, which allows families to get reimbursement for the education of their children in a non-brick-and-mortar setting. Zeman’s stay on his own prohibition lasts until June 30.

“A longer stay would give the most certainty to the tens of thousands of students, families, and educational vendors involved in the correspondence program while we wait for a final determination. This is too important a matter for Alaska and Alaskan students for short cuts or rush to judgments without even hearing a final decision from our highest court,” said Alaska Attorney General Treg Taylor. “Although I appreciate a stay of any length, we need certainty until the Alaska Supreme Court gives everyone guidance on this issue, and the Legislature and Governor have an opportunity to react to that guidance, if necessary.”

If reimbursing home school and correspondence coursework is unconstitutional, as Zeman says it is, his stay is allowing that “unconstitutional act” to continue for several weeks, raises the question about whether he is violating the Alaska Constitution.

PETITION STARTED

A group in Anchorage has created an online petition calling on legislators to take immediate action to move forward an amendment that clarifies the Alaska Constitution, so that judges like Zeman cannot misconstrue it.

The petition is at this link.

ANCHORAGE SCHOOL RESPONSE

This past week, Anchorage School District Superintendent Jharrett Bryantt has sent a statement out regarding the reimbursements through the district, which will continue through the remainder of the fiscal year, which ends June 30.

“ASD is ready to start issuing payments for past and current reimbursement requests and vendor payments next week,” Bryantt wrote. “We acknowledge the ongoing concerns that families have had with the temporary pause placed on reimbursements for purchases made using correspondence school allotments. We are here to support you to get your reimbursements for this school year.”

He noted that the Anchorage School Board is advocating that the State Board of Education and Early Development to meet as soon as possible “to enact regulations that provide for constitutional correspondence study programs for the 2024-25 school year and beyond.”

HOUSE HEARING IN FINANCE

The Alaska House Education Committee will held a hearing regarding House Bill 400, which addresses aspects of state law that the judge found unconstitutional. The bill is now in Finance.

“HB 400 gives the Board of Education the direction to develop and implement regulations that align with the State Constitution. Allotments and Individual Learning Plans (ILP) will continue as they have demonstrated they are vital in the continued operation of correspondence programs,” says the sponsor statement. Documents and hearing information is at this link.

BACKGROUND

Alaska has had a correspondence school program since before statehood. In fact, correspondence school education in Alaska dates at least as far back as 1918. It has been an important public education option, and of some Alaskans, it has been the only choice for those living in logging camps, mining camps or other remote communities.

In 2014, the Alaska Legislature amended the correspondence school statutes to codify existing regulations in addition to other changes.

“Importantly, the Superior Court judge did not rule that some parts of those laws are unconstitutional and that others are valid—or that some kinds of spending under the allotment statutes are permitted but other types of spending are not. Instead, he issued an order simply declaring the correspondence program statutes unconstitutional in their entirety. This is precisely what the NEA had asked the judge to do,” the Department of Law wrote.

Attorney General Taylor gave the following statement in response to the recent assertions and confusion surrounding this pending court case and the granted stay:

“This decision has caused a lot of consternation and concern for Alaskan families. There has also been confusion about what the decision says and means and what is the best way forward to ensure that public correspondence school education remains an opportunity for Alaska families—an opportunity that has existed and been supported by public funding since territorial days. I want to make several things clear for Alaskans.

“First, the Alaska Supreme Court should make the ultimate decision about whether laws passed by the Legislature (like the correspondence program statutes) conform with the requirements of the Alaska Constitution. The Alaska Supreme Court has not ruled on this case. Instead, we are only at step one of this process with one lower court having looked at the case. 

“Second, to ensure that the Alaska Supreme Court will review this important issue before Alaskan families, the Department of Law filed an expedited appeal today with the Alaska Supreme Court to get a final determination as quickly as possible.

“Third, the recent clarification by the Superior Court does open up the possibility of an interim solution. I would caution putting into place anything permanent, but rather keeping the current statutes as they are (because the Alaska Supreme Court could uphold them, requiring no changes to our program). Any potential solution should be tailored to the interim only and cause the least disruption to existing programs, while recognizing the judge’s decision. This is why a stay remains the best option for stability.”

Read the appeal here.

33 COMMENTS

  1. The State of Alaska has 2 choices. 1) Just give up which it usually does in the face of public union pressure. or 2) Be the State of Alaska that we are all proud of and take this to the SCOTUS and get the mini-Blaine amendments declared unconstitutional as discriminatory in practice and a violation of 1st amendment and 14th amendment rights for the benefit of our nation.

    We’ll see.

    • Right on Michael.

      Which way will you choose Alaska?

      Let us take a stand. We are fractious on the right, but surely we can come together for this. Our enemies are well funded and persistent, but they have no heart and little will if they get push back. They need and deserve a lot of push back. And they will not stop until we push back. We can no longer pretend they will just go away if we ignore them.

      • Sad that you see your neighbors as your enemies, what a way to go through life. Russia is calling you, Micah, you make Vlad so proud

        • You chose long ago to make enemies of your fellow countrymen. It is with that sad realization over many years that we must now act to maintain the dignity and ability to live our lives. Your vision of a heavily centralized state that seeks to control all -watch all- regulate all- tax all- and cancel whomever steps out of line- is the sad reality for many of your countrymen.

          Where were you when this was happening? Did you speak up? Or did you seek to vaccinate all and punish those who would not? Attempt to force all to accept that boys can be girls and vice versa? Compel speech by using d.e.i. in institutions and re-racializing the country as a consequence? Force women to accept men in their private spaces and take opportunities away from them? Force children to make life altering decisions to mutilate themselves by sexualizing them? I could go on and on.

          Or did you vote blue no matter who? Too bad the blue you were voting for was a police state. Your rancid ideology has to go.

  2. My fellow Alaskans please give me a minute what will it take to make the betterment of all? our dividend Checks should be $5,400 this year that is the absolute right thing to do. GOD loves us so much he has a dish & he has a true word of GOD preacher to teach all. SHEPPARDS CHAPLE on dish channel 256 or dot com our team the true word of GOD will have us all doing the right things please all I ask is indulge. Oath integrity is needed more than ever we the people deserve it & imagine making GOD smile for once. Integrity for all oath takers you all got we the people here only you can make us shine SO HELP YOU GOD IS A VERY SERIOUS THING PLEASE REPENT FOR WE THE PEOPLE. INTEGRITY

    • Greg
      How would you know what god wants ?
      Did he speak to you on the matter?
      Do you hear voices greg?
      Considering its possible god created life and existence and provided for life’s continuation via energy from the sun and natural laws that support life . It would fit that he wants alaskans to receive a full permanent fund dividend yo improve the human and life condition.

  3. Remember it’s about the kids.
    Obviously not as money and Frye right to choose is what the people in power want.

  4. Public school attendance teaches getting to work on time, interacting with other students and trained so when they enter the working world they can be relied upon and contribute with a good work ethic.

    • 3rd:
      Of course. High dropout rate is great for future employment. Skipping classes teaches on time discipline. Poor grades means employers stuck with idiots. DEI is great for business prosperity.
      .
      You must be highly educated from public schools to craft such a genius level conclusion.

    • Right. Public school teaches bending life to fit in with the crowd. Homeschool teaches responsibility and self drive to get work done. My homeschool kids finished college in four years OR LESS! My homeschool kid finished full scholarship law school and enters paid fellowship next. My homeschool kids all have either high skill or professional jobs. My 22 year old asked me how best to invest his $75k savings, since he bought both his truck and his Jeep outright. Every one of these kids is independent (I wish they would come home more) and far better off than I was at their age, probably because I was a victim of public schooling most of my life.

    • 3GenA….
      …….And how to be a good little indoctrinated commie. No independent critical thinking skills needed. Just show up on time, get along with your comrades, and vote Democrat. Thanks for your scholarly input.

    • My three homeschooled kids are responsible, punctual, leaders in their corporations, and reliable. They are this way because we taught them to be. As a public school teacher I have seen hundreds of students who are just the opposite. Being at the public school doesn’t magically turn students into the model citizens you described.

    • As a “Third generation Alaskan ” you ought to know that “home schooling”/”correspondence schooling ” has been a thing in Alaska that takes the opportunity teach our young in the way they should go! We Alaskans being independent by nature find it difficult to trust someone with different values ,to teach our youngsters to THEIR VALUES!
      This is spoken by a great grandfather that has been an Alaskan resident for just over 30 years!

    • First job of public schools should be teaching the children how to read. If they cannot do that, then we need alternative choices.

      • David; I agree on the alternative choice., We need strict discipline, take away C-phones, award achievers, make students earn that diploma, make schools more than just a day care center.
        In 3rd grade 1968 attending Chugach Ele. I remember a field trip where we visited the city jail and were told what would happen to us if we broke the law as adults, disrupting the class was not tolerated, swats in junior high. Correspondence if needed was done at study hall and as home work. If grades were insufficient, no sports.

    • If Suzanne had a “boot-out” by vote section at MRAK, I would push the button on 3rd Generation Alaskan. Stupid comments.

  5. Recent revelations resulting from careful and clear readings of both the US and Alaska constitutions reveals the governor is not bound by the judges opinion. He can just ignore it with no real consequence. The revelations could upset the applecart of common misunderstanding of constitutional law in our culture.

  6. Great summary of the situation, Suzanne. I felt the same way regarding Judge Zeman’s stay until June 30. If parts of the statute are unconstitutional after June 30, they are surely unconstitutional before that date.

  7. SB 266 is terrible and obviously written by the NEA. HB 400 is a little better in some aspects but not something we should make law. Both should be rejected in their current form.

  8. Greg smoke my dick sir, it is the LAW 5400 dividend check is the Law Greg, you know it’s a sin to eat bottom fish & crab bigger fish to fry sir. BOOOOO give we the people our just do & an oath to GOD matters first & foremost to GOD. Rig our elections look at the evil from our oath takers its flat out evil, our full divided checks would be one fine start to saving face OATH INTEGRITY SO HELP THEM GOD DEM ALL SWORE. MAGA

  9. If Dunleavy (or anybody) really understood the constitution, you would find that court orders are not enforced by the judiciary.

    Hypothetical: What if a judge said that Alaskan natives can’t be reimbursed? It would be just as unconstitutional as the reality of this current opinion. Would ANY governor enforce it just because a judge said so?

    Read Article IV, Sec. 1: “The jurisdiction of the courts shall be prescribed by law.” Meaning the LEGISLATURE. We live in a warped culture with a warped constitution led by warped bureaucrats instead of representatives with clear-thinking brains.

  10. Difficult to understand how effective home schooling is when only 15% of home school students take the test. A responsible legislature and Governor would want standardized testing for everyone to determine how effective the program is

  11. The resources of the state belong to the people of this state, not through the proxy all powerful state government for the benefit of the special interests which control it. The Alaska State government was originally crafted to be manipulated and controlled by down states special interests. Over time this has morphed to majority control of the state by so called state “workers” unions and administrators.
    Our youth is the #1 societal priority and the resources for their education are to be controlled by their parents and used for the best interests of their children as parents see fit. Families are the sovereign owners of this state. The unions have removed servant from their job description of public servants, not tyrannical masters of the public from which they absorb the wealth of this state. The Governor should ignore the courts and call for a constitutional convention. All judges and the executive office of the state police should be elected directly by the people. All state employee unions should be dissolved. All education funds allocated to each student for their parents to choose any private, home schooling option or public school of their choice, period.

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