Can public funds be used for private school classes? Education department isn’t sure - Alaska Public Media

6/6/2022 9:00:00 PM

‘Any effort to divert public funds to private schools is a blatantly unconstitutional act’ says opponent to the practice.

Can families enrolled in a state-funded correspondence program use their allotment to pay for private school classes? A state statute paves the way for it, but the Department of Education and Early Development is unclear on whether it’s allowed.

‘Any effort to divert public funds to private schools is a blatantly unconstitutional act’ says opponent to the practice.

Spokespeople for both the Department of Education and the Department of Law couldn’t answer the question and say the issue is currently under review. “The Department of Law will weigh in on it. But once I get an answer, we’ll be responsible for putting that information out,” said Don Enoch. Enoch is special education director for the State of Alaska and also works in correspondence, charter, early childhood & Head Start programs.

Enoch says correspondence programs can offer a student funding allotment, which can be spent on educational-related needs of the student, like books, classes, school supplies, technology support, tutoring, music or activity lessons. Correspondence program students are funded at 90% of $5,930, or 90% of the base amount the state pays per student. Alaska has about 34 correspondence school programs  in the state.

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Specifically, this question: Can families enrolled in a state-funded correspondence program use their allotment to pay for private school classes? A state statute paves the way for it, there are families in Alaska excited about the option, and at least one correspondence school in the state already allows it. But the Department of Education and Early Development is unclear if it’s allowed and opponents of the practice say it violates a provision of the Alaska Constitution. (REUTERS/Jim Vondruska) by in large a disaster ," noting that"the first year of the pandemic left students on average five months behind in math and four months behind in reading, with much larger gaps for low income schools. Spokespeople for both the Department of Education and the Department of Law couldn’t answer the question and say the issue is currently under review. The park service statement said Birman’s guides initiated CPR but he never regained his pulse. “The Department of Law will weigh in on it."That might have been acceptable if students were showing great improvement. But once I get an answer, we’ll be responsible for putting that information out,” said Don Enoch. For decades, he was buried in an unmarked grave.

Enoch is special education director for the State of Alaska and also works in correspondence, charter, early childhood & Head Start programs." Bloomberg pointed to public charter schools as a more successful mechanism for educating America’s students, and criticized politicians for supporting legislation making it harder to operate charter schools and easier for regular public schools to escape accountability. The park statement said the cause of death was unknown but was consistent with sudden cardiac arrest. School districts in Alaska can establish state-funded public correspondence schools for families who choose to homeschool their children. In Alaska, Don Enoch said the terms correspondence school and homeschool are synonymous and are used interchangeably. In states and cities with strong accountability laws, charters have a proven academic track record of outperforming district schools," Bloomberg wrote. “There’s a very big, big interest in homeschooling your own children with your own curriculum and things like that here in Alaska and [the correspondence program] helps meet that need a little bit,” said Enoch. Enoch says correspondence programs can offer a student funding allotment, which can be spent on educational-related needs of the student, like books, classes, school supplies, technology support, tutoring, music or activity lessons. Other research has found that the benefits are especially pronounced for Black, Latino and low-income students. Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski also would have flown in to speak in his honor.

Correspondence program students are funded at 90% of $5,930, or 90% of the base amount the state pays per student. Alaska has about 34 correspondence school programs  in the state.  CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP "The idea that we would allow public charter-school students from disadvantaged backgrounds to be deprived of great teachers so that we can staff schools with declining enrollments as though they were full makes no sense whatsoever — until factoring in politics," Bloomberg wrote. “To my knowledge, there’s no program that’s paying for private school programs,” Enoch said. Mat-Su homeschool program lays path to private school classes Mat-Su Central is a homeschool program within the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District." Bloomberg argued that without reform, public schools will continue to fail students and will hurt future generations. Principal Stacey McIntosh said her school currently reimburses families for secular classes at private schools. Fox was killed fighting in Ardea, Italy, in 1944.

She said a state statute allows it. Get all the stories you need-to-know from the most powerful name in news delivered first thing every morning to your inbox Arrives. According to  Alaska Statute 14.03.310 , families may purchase nonsectarian services and materials from a public, private, or religious organization with a correspondence student allotment provided. McIntosh said her homeschool program has been reimbursing families for non-religious private school classes for three years, since right before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Sullivan tried but failed to make it to the special ceremony, Livingston said he played a key role in finally moving the process forward and  ordering the grave marker last May .

“We have a vetting process that we do with private schools,” McIntosh said. A certified teacher carefully goes through the curriculum of a private school “to make sure that it’s not religious, makes sure it’s a secular curriculum” and provides a list of classes for each private school that Mat-Su Central can reimburse for, she said. Mat-Su Central offers reimbursement for classes at 12 private schools; most are in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough and a few are outside. For the allotment amount, the school offered $2,200 for grades kindergarten to 12. “But next year, we’re increasing our allotment to $3,000 for 9 through 12 and $2,600 for K through 8,” she said. And a lot of people have been working to get the gravestone ordered.

If the student is on track proficiency-wise and the private school classes have passed the vetting process, McIntosh said a family could use their full allotment for private school classes. “We don’t direct pay any private schools; we reimburse parents. Parents have to submit those [secular] receipts for us to reimburse,” McIntosh said. Anchorage charter school plans to reimburse for private school classes in fall Family Partnership Charter School, part of the Anchorage School District, offers an allotment of $4,000 for elementary school, $4,250 for middle school and $4,500 for high school. The school plans to offer its families the option to use that allotment as reimbursement for private school classes starting next school year. (Theo Greenly/KUCB) Unangax̂ Elder Gertrude Svarny was Fox’s neighbor growing up.

The  Anchorage School District in December renewed the school’s charter , which prohibits the use of public funds for private school tuition but allows individual courses from private vendors. According to Family Partnership Charter School, this gives the option for a parent to pay up front for private school classes and – as long as it meets the requirements – Family Partnership will reimburse the families for classes. Theresa Brooks, who lives in Eagle River, is excited about this option. She’s enrolled in a lottery to get her granddaughter into Family Partnership Charter School this fall. Her granddaughter, who Brooks adopted, is 11 years old and is going into sixth grade. In a speech following the unveiling, Svarny said that to fully understand what this recognition means, people need to know the region’s history.

She’s been going to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, a private school in Anchorage, since first grade after Brooks noticed she was falling behind in public school kindergarten. “I couldn’t really let that happen to her, and so I needed the lower student-teacher ratio. So I was willing to sacrifice my early retirement money, everything to make sure that she had a good education,” Brooks said over the phone on Thursday. She said the drive to St. government forcibly   following the WWII bombing.

Elizabeth Ann Seton can take up to 45 minutes each way. She paid $6,000 for this past school year and will pay $6,400 next school year. She’s excited about the possibility of getting partially reimbursed for her granddaughter’s private school education. “I think it’s a great opportunity to get a better education, a better student-teacher ratio. A 100% homeschool is something I can’t do. “This ceremony today symbolizes the recognition of the many Unangax̂ people who served in their country,” Svarny said.

I work too much for that,” Brooks said. She said she learned about the option to get reimbursed for private school classes from a St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Zoom meeting that Jodi Taylor presented at. Jodi Taylor is a mom and the board president of the Alaska Policy Forum. Taylor wrote an  op-ed last month  that was published on various news websites and blogs. Livingston read that letter in Monday’s ceremony.

In it, she gives a step-by-step description for how families can use a correspondence school allotment for classes at private schools. “I wrote it because I felt like parents and families would want to understand and know that information,” Taylor said. “A lot of parents post-COVID are very worried about learning loss and really wanting to take the bull by the horns in their children’s education, and this gives them an opportunity to do that.” Taylor learned of the state statute that says correspondence student allotment may be used to purchase nonsectarian private school services and materials from Alaska Policy Forum Chief Executive Office Bethany Marcum, who worked as a legislative staffer for Gov. Mike Dunleavy when Dunleavy was a state senator. Don’t worry about me.

The statute language was originally part of .