Dan King
Dan King · April 15, 2024

ANCHORAGE—On Friday, the Superior Court for the State of Alaska ruled that the state’s popular Correspondence School Program violates the Alaska Constitution. The parents who are defending the educational choice program, represented by the Institute for Justice (IJ), will appeal the ruling to the Alaska Supreme Court. 

“Friday’s decision is incredibly disappointing,” said IJ Attorney Kirby Thomas West. “In its opinion, the court ruled that a program that benefits families throughout the state violates the Alaska Constitution. The court completely ignored our strong claims that this incorrect reading of the Alaska Constitution puts it at odds with the protections of the United States Constitution.” 

As a sparsely populated state, Alaska faces some unique challenges in ensuring all students receive a quality education, and the correspondence school program was created to address these issues. Since its creation, thousands of Alaska students have benefitted from the program.  

In the early days of the program, local public schools would use the post office or float planes to send lessons and tests to students in the rural reaches of the state, and then pick the assignments up to grade them. In 1997, lawmakers expanded the program to allow parents to receive reimbursement for certain education supplies. And in 2014, the law was broadened even further to allow correspondence schools to reimburse parents who choose a variety of alternative education options, including sending their students to nonpublic schools.  

“This program is vitally important to my family, and so many others across the state,” said Andrea Moceri, one of the parents working with IJ to defend the program. “I’m disappointed by the court’s decision, but we’re not giving up. We will appeal and continue to fight to ensure that my son, and every other Alaskan child, has access to the education that best fits his or her unique needs.”  

Andrea uses the program to send her son to Holy Rosary Academy in Anchorage, where he has excelled academically. But without the program, it would be economically impossible for Andrea to send her son to the school at which he has found success. 

“If Friday’s ruling is allowed to stand, parents throughout the Last Frontier will no longer be able to send their children to the schools that best meet their needs,” said IJ Educational Choice Attorney David Hodges. “We’re prepared to continue fighting for the rights of school children throughout Alaska.” 

Craig Richards serves as local counsel in this lawsuit, helping IJ and school parents defend the program.