Arguments were heard in Ketchikan Superior Court on Friday on a request for a stay by the State of Alaska in the ruling on Ketchikan Gateway Borough’s education funding lawsuit.

On Wednesday, the State of Alaska appealed the decision Superior Court Judge William Carey made in favor of the Ketchikan Gateway Borough’s long-held argument that the state’s required local contribution for public education violates Alaska’s Constitution.

The state asked for an expedited stay on Judge Carey’s ruling while the appeal is considered by the Alaska Supreme Court.

In a notice to parties, Carey indicated he has travel plans that cannot be rescheduled and he was leaving Friday. He will not return until Feb. 17.

Carey says he is willing to work on the case while in travel status because of the importance of this decision.

“The issue is serious, and when I issued my decision, I did it strictly on the law without giving any real consideration to policies that may be behind the issues in this case,” he said. “I did it strictly on the law, understanding that, regardless, if I did rule in the way I did there would be some ramifications probably, frankly, that I didn’t completely understand myself. My job was to make a decision based on the law and I did that.”

Carey has given the Ketchikan Gateway Borough until February 9th to file a brief, and the State of Alaska until February 12 to respond. If either side requests oral arguments or an evidentiary hearing, time for that will be scheduled for February 23.

If no motions are filed, Carey says he’ll make the decision on the stay that day.