On April 24, 2019, the Coalition for Education Equity notified the governor that immediate legal action would be taken if $20 million in FY 2019 education funding is not released to school districts by April 30, 2019. Governor Dunleavy proposed a FY 19 Supplemental Budget on January 28, 2019 that cut these funds in the middle of the school year. His administration has since refused to release the funds, despite the fact that the legislature has opted to not pass this cut.
These funds were passed by the 30th Legislature through Senate Bill 142 and signed into law. The Department of Education and Early Development (DEED) prepared and distributed to school districts the annual revenue distributions, showing the amount each district would receive for expenditure of these funds during the 2018-2019 school year. With this appropriation being signed law, and with notice from DEED regarding how these funds would be distributed and in what amounts, school districts budgeted to receive these funds and have made expenditures in reliance on the timely receipt of these funds. The Executive Branch’s refusal to release these funds for timely expenditure by school districts is an illegal impounding of funds and a violation of the Alaska Constitution.
Our school districts have trusted the legislative process and budgeted accordingly and responsibly. The Governor has a constitutional obligation to faithfully execute the laws of the State of Alaska, and the power to appropriate funds rests with the Alaska legislature. The Governor has overstepped his authority and the Coalition for Education Equity will seek immediate relief from the courts if these funds are not released by April 30, 2019.