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Judge’s ruling leaves thousands of homeschooled Alaskans in uncertainty | Alaska

(The Center Square) – A ruling that declared state-funded allotments for the correspondence programs has some confused as to what it means for Alaska’s more than 24,000 homeschooled children.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy crafted the law as a constitutional amendment while serving as a state senator in 2013. That measure failed and he reintroduced it as a bill in 2014 that passed and was signed into law.

The bill allows families to receive up to $4,500 in state funds for “correspondence” education. The plaintiffs questioned whether the money is permissible for homeschool or private school spending.

Anchorage Superior Court Judge Adolf V. Zeman said in his ruling that adding parameters as to how the money could be spent is not possible.

“As a result, this court finds that there is no workable way to construe the statutes to allow only constitutional spending and AS 14.03.300-.301 must be struck down as unconstitutional in their entirety,” the judge said in the decision. “If the legislature believes these expenditures are necessary – then it is up to them to craft constitutional legislation to serve that purpose – that is not this Court’s role.

The governor said in a social media post on Saturday: “We are still trying to understand the decision by the Superior Court, Friday in which the judge ruled that much if not all the correspondence homeschool education that we do in Alaska may be unconstitutional. With 24,000 students enrolled in these programs to say this would be disruptive would be an understatement. This disruption, coupled with the fact that we and many Alaskans believe this ruling is flawed, leads us to ask for a stay and quick resolution with our Supreme Court.”

Americans for Prosperity – Alaska called on the legislature to address the ruling.

“It is deeply troubling to see the fundamental rights of families and students undermined by this ruling,” said Bethany Marcum, state director, in a news release on Monday. “Educational choice is essential for ensuring every child receives a quality education tailored to their individual needs.”

The Alaska Department of Law did not immediately respond to questions from The Center Square.

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