Alaska House panel refuses to advance Dunleavy schools bill

    JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The fight over whether the Legislature legally funded public education in Alaska for next year may be headed to the courts.

    The Legislature said it appropriated funding for the next fiscal year in last year's budget in a process called forward funding. But the Dunleavy administration says that was unconstitutional, backed up by an opinion from the attorney general.

    The House Finance Committee on Tuesday refused to advance a bill from Gov. Mike Dunleavy, which the administration says is vital to ensure schools are funded.

    Legislative Legal Services Director Megan Wallace told the committee Monday she and other attorneys in her division believe the appropriations made last year are valid and would withstand any constitutional challenge.

    Rep. Gary Knopp said the issue presents a question the courts should answer.

    The Senate Finance Committee took public testimony on SB 1001 that comes from the Governor and provides education funding equal to last year plus an additional $30 million.

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