JUNEAU – In an effort to prevent teachers from receiving pink slips on June 3, the Alaska Legislature is preparing to defend a law providing K-12 education funding for the upcoming fiscal year.
The House and Senate each voted today to allow the Joint Legislative Council Committee to take all action necessary to uphold the Legislature’s constitutional power of appropriation. The Legislature is also asking for an injunction to allow schools to receive funding until the courts resolve the issue.
“The Legislature stands by its effort to make sure schools get funded in a timely manner,” House Speaker Bryce Edgmon said. “At stake is the essential question of the Legislature’s constitutionally mandated appropriation powers and a fundamental question involving the separation of powers.”
“The Legislature forward-funded K-12 education last year for this very reason – to prevent pink slip notices from going out and provide stability, so that teachers can focus on the classroom,” Senate President Cathy Giessel said. “We stand firmly behind the law passed last year, and we’re asking the courts to look into the issue and provide clarity.”
In the past, political disagreements over the budget led to the issuance of pink slip notices to teachers. The Legislature addressed this issue by passing House Bill 287, a bill fully funding Alaska schools for two years and providing districts with a one-time $30 million grant. The bill was signed into law May 3, 2018.