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K-12 education funding to be released amid ongoing constitutional dispute

Wednesday was the last day of school for students in several area counties. (MGN)
Wednesday was the last day of school for students in several area counties. (MGN)(WJHG)
Published: Jun. 26, 2019 at 10:55 AM AKDT
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K-12 education funding will be released amid

between the Legislature and the Dunleavy administration.

Dr. Michael Johnson, the Commissioner of the Department of Education and Early Development, sent a letter to superintendents across Alaska on Monday, informing them that state funding would not be significantly delayed in FY2020 while the case is in court.

State funds are typically released on the 15th of each month. The initial release on July 15 will be withheld by the administration for 7-10 days to trigger a lawsuit from the Legislature, but Johnson said funding would go out every month during the legal battle.

The dispute between lawmakers and the administration centers on the funding source for schools in FY2020. The Legislature relied on a forward funding measure passed in 2018 to fund schools through the upcoming fiscal year.

Kevin Clarkson, the Alaska Attorney General,

stating that the administration could not release funds without an appropriation item in the FY2020 operating budget.

School managers across Alaska said withholding funding would have

for school planning.

In early June, Daniel Walker, the superintendent of the Lower Kuskokwim School District, said if the funds were not released, “It is setting up to be a pretty major disaster.”

Sen. Gary Stevens, R-Kodiak, who chairs the Legislative Council, said on June 5 that lawmakers would not do anything until the governor failed to release funds on July 15. Legislators would then

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