Parnell Warns Ketchikan of Lawsuit Repercussions

In a visit to Ketchikan Thursday, Governor Sean Parnell said there could be “unintended consequences” to the Ketchikan Gateway Borough’s lawsuit against the state. Photo by KRBD.

Governor Sean Parnell is warning that Ketchikan’s lawsuit against the state over school funding might make him and lawmakers reluctant to fund Ketchikan projects.

In a visit to the community Thursday, Parnell discussed the Ketchikan Gateway Borough’s lawsuit, which argues that municipalities in Alaska should not have to pay a local contribution for public education. If the suit is successful, it could hold the state accountable for hundreds of millions more in education spending and Parnell predicted potential repercussions.

Parnell confirmed some people’s worries here in Ketchikan. He said the lawsuit filed in January could jade his and other lawmakers perspective toward Ketchikan funding.

“When Ketchikan asks for money but yet the state might be on the hook in the lawsuit for more money, there’s kind of a reluctance or a reticence to step forward for other projects.,” Parnell said.

Parnell said he understands the frustration behind the lawsuit. But he thinks a local contribution for education is a good thing.

“I actually think a local contribution is important, I think it helps keep people connected to the school district and helps really make people interested and invested in the school district and the system that is here for our kids.”

– Emily Files – KRBD, Ketchikan


Emily Files is a reporter at KHNS in Haines.

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