Local News

Executive session to talk about school $ lawsuit

An executive session to discuss a potential lawsuit over the state’s school funding formula, and a public hearing about creating a new Saxman-South Tongass service area are two big topics on Monday’s Borough Assembly agenda.

For several years now, the Ketchikan Gateway Borough has challenged the state’s school funding practice, claiming that current regulations are unfair to organized boroughs, and place undue burden on local governments. The borough has lobbied government officials and regional elected representatives, but so far has stopped short of a lawsuit.

According to information provided in the meeting packet, if the borough chooses to move forward with a lawsuit, “plaintiffs should be willing to employ every lawful strategy and to surrender no advantage to the formidable adversaries that plaintiffs would face.”

Borough Manager Dan Bockhorst writes that if the borough follows that strategy, it has a reasonable prospect for success.

The Assembly already has discussed the issue in executive session, but two years have passed since the last closed-door consideration of the topic. Litigation or potential litigation is one of the topics that local elected government bodies are allowed by state law to discuss privately.

Also Monday, the Assembly will hold a public hearing and final vote on proposed ballot measures that would combine the Saxman and South Tongass fire and EMS service areas, while keeping the water services separate. If placed on the ballot, the issue must pass in both voting areas to succeed.

The Assembly meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. Monday in Borough Assembly chambers in the White Cliff building. Public comment will be heard at the start of the meeting.

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