By Jason Lamb
3:46 PM AKST, January 26, 2012
The State of Alaska will pay $18 million over the next three years as part of a settlement in a statewide education lawsuit concerning the adequacy and equality of education in rural schools.
The lawsuit was formally settled Thursday afternoon.
A group called Citizens for the Educational Advancement for Alaska’s Children brought on the lawsuit -- known as the Moore Case -- back in 2004, because it felt the state wasn’t providing enough educational instruction in rural schools for its students to pass state-required graduation exams.
According to CEAAC director Charles Wohlforth, in 2007 a judge found that while the state was meeting some constitutional requirements for school funding, it was not meeting its obligations to make sure students had a chance to perform well on the state tests, particularly in rural districts.
The judge ordered the state to take specific actions to improve student performance, like implementing a pre-kindergarten program in schools, but CEEAC contends that the state didn’t do enough.
The state has disagreed with CEEAC’s assessment, and negotiations toward a settlement had taken place through last summer and fall.
Alaska Commissioner of Education and Early Development Mike Hanley and Wohlforth announced Thursday afternoon that the settlement will provide $18 million to the state's 40 lowest-performing schools. In turn, the CEAAC will drop the lawsuit.
According to the state, the $18 million will be distributed by the Department of Education and Early Development over the next three years through an application process.
The state says funds will be used to improve early literacy, teacher retention and other efforts to help students pass the state's high school exit exam.
Email Jason Lamb
Copyright © 2013, KTUU-TV