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Press Release

Attorney General Will Appeal the Lawsuit Challenging the Required Local Contribution for Schools

January 28, 2015

(Juneau, AK) – Attorney General Craig Richards announced today that the State will appeal the recent ruling invalidating the required local contribution that municipalities are required to provide to their local schools. The State will also request a stay of the superior court’s ruling, which would ensure municipalities would continue to pay the local contribution until the Alaska Supreme Court decides the case or the legislature chooses to change the system of school funding.

“The State has a long history of sharing the burden of education funding between local governments, the State, and federal aid,” said Attorney General Richards. “This principle has long been a part of the statutory scheme for education passed by the legislature, and the State believes in the constitutionality of this system of shared support and local control.”

Ketchikan Gateway Borough brought this lawsuit last year and asserted that the required local contribution violated various constitutional provisions, including the dedicated funds clause. The dedicated funds clause prohibits any specific sources of state revenues from being dedicated to a specific purpose, subject to a list of exceptions. The State believes that the required local contribution, which goes directly from the municipality to the school district, is not State revenue and does not violate the Alaska Constitution. The superior court disagreed with the State and held that the required local contribution violated the dedicated funds clause.

The State plans on filing the appeal and requesting a stay by the end of the week.

CONTACT: Kathryn Vogel at kathryn.vogel@alaska.gov or 269-5100.

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