About a week after the Ketchikan Gateway Borough asked the Alaska Supreme Court to reconsider its order for a stay pending appeal of the borough’s education funding lawsuit, state attorneys filed their expected opposition.
The state lost the main point of the case in January, when Superior Court Judge William Carey ruled that the State of Alaska’s required local contribution for public education violates the state Constitution.
Alaska Department of Law attorneys then filed an appeal with the Supreme Court. The high court agreed to take the case, and to put Carey’s ruling on hold until the appeal is decided.
In its motion for reconsideration of the stay, the borough argued that the schedule for the appeal – which calls for oral arguments in mid-September – will take too long.
According to the borough, it is required to establish a property tax rate by June 15th, and a decision after that date will harm borough property owners, unless the stay is repealed. A large portion of the borough’s property tax goes to fund public schools.
In its opposition to reconsideration, the state argues that the court already considered the borough’s need to establish a tax rate when the justices approved the motion for a stay.
In related news, the Alaska Supreme Court on Friday granted a motion from the Fairbanks North Star Borough to join the lawsuit as a friend of the court on the side of the Ketchikan Gateway Borough. That will allow Fairbanks to file a brief supporting Ketchikan’s claims.