Judge rules that forward funding of schools is constitutional

Juneau Superior Court Judge Daniel Schally at his installation ceremony in March at the Dimond Courthouse. Schally ruled on Monday that education funding the Legislature passed last year that covers this school year was constitutional. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO)

A judge has ruled that the Alaska Legislature was within its rights to pass school funding for the current school year in a law passed last year.

Juneau Superior Court Judge Daniel Schally ruled on Monday that the forward funding for this school year is constitutional. The ruling restates the position Schally took in an injunction last month.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s administration had argued that the funding wasn’t valid. The Department of Law said that it violated the state constitution’s prohibition on dedicated funds, as well as the constitution’s provision for an annual state budget.

Schally rejected both of these arguments. He ruled that Dunleavy violated his constitutional obligation to “faithfully execute the laws of this state.”

The administration had agreed to continue to pay the bulk of the money until the case is resolved. Schally’s ruling may ease the release of $30 million in supplemental funding that the governor had opposed.

The Legislative Council sued Dunleavy and the commissioners of administration and education after the administration took the position that the funding wasn’t valid.

Andrew Kitchenman is the state government and politics reporter for Alaska Public Media and KTOO in Juneau. Reach him at akitchenman@alaskapublic.org.

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