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Legislators, Dunleavy administration expect school funds to be paid during potential lawsuit
was written by Andrew Kitchenman, Alaska Public Media & KTOO – Juneau , 2019-06-24 19:19:10
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A dispute between the Alaska Legislature and Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s administration over school funding isn’t likely to disrupt state payments to districts or affect the start of the school year. But both sides expect a lawsuit on the issue. And the state’s Department of Law says a court order will be needed to send the payments out.
The Legislative Council voted unanimously on June 13 to authorize a lawsuit over the issue.
The council handles some legislative business when the Legislature is not in session, including deciding whether to authorize lawsuits. It has 14 members, divided equally between Senate and House members.
State Sen. Gary Stevens, the council chair, said the lawsuit would defend the Legislature’s ability to pass laws that appropriate money for more than one year.
“The issue is the separation of powers,” said Stevens, a Kodiak Republican. “And it’s our job as a Legislature to write a budget to allocate money to fund the budget, and it’s the governor’s job to manage that.”
The Legislature passed a law last year that was intended to appropriate the bulk of school funding for the school year that just ended and next year.
Attorney General Kevin Clarkson maintains that the funding for next year isn’t valid. He said the state constitution requires appropriations be done each year. And he said past legislatures can’t bind future legislatures and governors.
While Dunleavy called on the Legislature to add school funding in the operating budget it recently passed, lawmakers chose not to. They maintained that last year’s law didn’t bind the Legislature, but the Legislature chose to continue to follow it.
A Department of Law statement said the administration believes it can work with the Legislature “to ensure the lawsuit proceeds as quickly as possible without impacting Alaska’s children and school district. This would require having a court order in place to allow education funding to be sent out on a monthly basis during the litigation.”
The Legislature could file a lawsuit around July 15, when the first payment of the year normally is sent to districts.
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Travel agency suggested must see attractions for nearly everybody heading to Alaska is
Glacier Bay National Park. Glacier Bay is located in southeast Alaska, approximately 60 air miles west of the state capital of Juneau. The closest community is Gustavus, Alaska located 11 miles away. Glacier Bay National Park now includes over 3 million acres, and is often known as one of the Crown Jewels of the National Park system. The Park offers snow-capped mountain ranges soaring to 15,000 feet, coastal beaches with shielded coves, deep fjords, tidewater glaciers, coastal and estuarine waters, and freshwater lakes. In addition to dramatic scenery, there are abundant wildlife watching possibilities with a wide range of seabirds, sea and land mammals. Many visitors experience Glacier Bay National Park while on big cruiseships that visit the Park for the day, though others stay within the Park at the Glacier Bay Lodge. Even though there are no roads to Glacier Bay National Park, you will find convenient air connections to Gustavus from Juneau, Skagway and Haines. Ferry service can also be available from Juneau. Through Gustavus it is about 10 miles by road to Glacier Bay Lodge & Tours located at Bartlett cove and hosts visitor center and departure point for day boat trips to Glacier Bay National Park. Accommodations inside Glacier Bay National Park are at the Glacier Bay Lodge. The lodge includes 56 rooms with dining, activities desk, gift shop, and the Park visitor center is found upstairs. All rooms possess private bath and/or shower and can accommodate up to four guests. Glacier Bay Lodge is open mid-May to mid-September each year.