Joe Perry


In the past several years, Alaska has faced many challenges in its public education system. These challenges gave rise to an intense political debate, significant new legislation, and a protracted battle over the future of funding for public education. Governor Mike Dunleavy and the state legislature publicly clashed over the implementation of H.B. 287, a 2018 state law designed to provide financial stability to ailing schools and curtail teacher layoffs. In 2022, the Supreme Court of Alaska resolved the dispute in favor of the governor and found a contentious piece of state legislation unconstitutional under the states "Dedicated Funds Clause." This Note examines the Court's decision in State v. Alaska Legislative Council, considers the underlying constitutional issues in the case, and explores the implications of the ruling. In particular, this Note argues that the Court incorrectly decided the case on multiple grounds—misinterpreting the plain text of the relevant constitutional provisions, the framers' intent, and the court's own precedent in a decision that will exacerbate existing troubles with public education in the state. The proper interpretation of the Dedicated Funds Clause matters for legislators, government agencies, teachers, parents, and children in Alaska going forward.

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