Alaska Supreme Court Sets Date for Appeal in Homeschool Lawsuit

The Alaska Supreme Court has suggested a hearing for the state’s appeal in a court case challenging components of its correspondence school program, aiming to conclude before the end of June.

Scheduled for June 25, oral arguments are set to occur five days prior to a stay on the lower court’s judgment.

Superior Court Judge Adolf Zeman determined that two sections of state law permitted public funds, distributed as per student allotments, to be utilized at private and religious institutions, violating the state constitution. The state’s legal representatives recently filed an appeal against this ruling.

This court proceeding coincides with legislative efforts to address the stability of correspondence programs for affected families.

House Bill 400 and Senate Bill 266 propose different approaches to the issue. HB 400 directs the governor’s appointees on the state’s Board of Education and Early Development to devise a constitutional remedy, leaving room for a potential constitutional amendment. On the other hand, SB 266 eliminates the unconstitutional provisions identified by Zeman, imposes stricter controls on the allocation and reporting of state education funds by districts, and imposes greater constraints on parents opting out of standardized testing for their children.

Governor Mike Dunleavy has indicated his stance against passing a legislative solution until the Alaska Supreme Court issues its ruling. The outcome is expected after the regular legislative session concludes on May 15, prompting the possibility of a special legislative session to address the matter.

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