Settlement Reached in Alaska School Facilities Case
Dispute produced facilities aid for remote districts
Alaska has agreed to pay for the replacement or repair of schools in five remote villages, signaling an end to a 14-year-old lawsuit that forced the state to revamp the way it guarantees funding for school construction in rural areas.
Although the settlement is confined to five school projects, the effect of the lawsuit itself has been far-reaching, according to those who led the effort. It triggered the opening of state coffers for more than $1.2 billion in school facilities projects in villages over the past decade and led state lawmakers to pass a measure last year that establishes a new, permanent mechanism for state funding of rural school construction projects.
In a move announced this month, the parties in the case have all signed off on an agreement : Alaska’s commissioner of education, Mike Hanley; its attorney general, John J. Burns; the 12 plaintiffs, who are parents and school superintendents in Alaskan villages; and Citizens for the Educational Advancement of Alaska’s Children, a rural superintendents’ advocacy group that brought the case. But the agreement still must be approved by Gov. Sean Parnell and by the superior court...
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