Stevens applauds release of $20M schools grant

Sen. Gary Stevens, R-Kodiak, is calling the release of a one-time $20 million grant for Alaska public schools as “a good first step” in K-12 education funding.

“I sincerely appreciate the governor’s decision to distribute these funds,” Stevens said June 13, in the aftermath of the Dunleavy administration agreeing to distribute the one-time $20 million grant appropriated last year by the Legislature to K-2 schools.

Earlier this year, the administration asked lawmakers to withhold that grant, but found little support for that proposal in the Legislature.

“It’s my hope that we reach quick resolution on the bulk of K-12 education funding for next year, sparing parents, educators and students from further uncertainty,” Stevens said.

“If the state doesn’t transfer funds to public schools in July, we will ask the court to issue an injunction and allow state funding for schools to continue while the issue is being litigated,” he said.

Last year legislators fully funded Alaska’s K-12 schools for two years and provided districts with a $20 million grant or fiscal year 2019 and another $30 million grant for fiscal year 2020.

Both houses voted last month to allow the Joint Legislative Council Committee to file a lawsuit against the Dunleavy administration if it withholds funds appropriated to K-12 schools for fiscal year 2020.