Above, shows how the members of the Alaska Legislature voted on the veto override vote.

In order for lawmakers to override the governor’s veto, they needed 40 votes. That did not happen. After nearly two hours of floor debates, 39 legislators voted to override and 20 voted with the governor. One lawmaker was excused from the vote.

By upholding the governor’s veto, educational reform advocates have now made it clear that in order to pass massive funding increases for Alaska failing public schools, school districts will need to be held accountable for how they spend money.

Dunleavy initially vetoed Senate Bill 140 because he said it lacked meaningful reforms.

The bill would have increased education spending by $175 million, while failing to include reforms that the governor supported.

The bill looked to add an additional $680 per student via the Base Student Allocation (BSA) – the formula for how Alaska funds public schools – which would have amounted to a historic spending increase for a system that has repeatedly demonstrated that more money does not translate into better student outcomes.

In fact, Alaska already spends $22,000 per student each year – the sixth highest in the nation. Despite this investment, Alaska students rank 49th in the nation in basic academic performance.

The governor wants to see several provisions in the bill, including a new mechanism by which charter schools could be established by the state, rather than exclusively through local school district control. He also wanted money tied directly to teacher take-home pay to ensure funds are not siphoned off for myriad administrative projects that tend to grow an already sizable bureaucratic machine.

“The lack of such reforms, given our success, with charter schools did not justify the passage of this bill that increases spending without needed reforms,” Dunleavy noted. “There is still time in this session to address some of the issues such as increasing broadband speeds for our schools in Alaska. There is also still time in this session to enhance our charter school offerings and methods by which they are chartered.”

He said he would continue to work with lawmakers to “put the needs of Alaskan families first – not the wants of special interest groups.”

With declining enrollments and record numbers of families leaving brick and mortar public schools for homeschool options, many education activists, union bosses and entrenched bureaucrats have desperately lobbied to find new sources of funding from the state, despite having fewer kids to educate.

The nonpartisan conservative think tank, Americans for Prosperity has come out in support of Dunleavy’s veto, which will force lawmakers to rethink an “antiquated, one-size-fits-all system” that “is not the solution Alaska’s students need.”

Click here to support Alaska Watchman reporting.

Dunleavy’s veto of a massive educational spending spree bill withstands veto override attempt

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.


  • Neil DeWitt says:

    I say, If our schools would get off all this WOKE and LGBTQ+ crap, we wouldn’t need all this extra money and or charter schools. The schools we have would TEACH our kids anything Alaska wouldn’t be second from the BOTTOM! School districts, you bring up the test scores and show me over a minimum of three years in a row that your kids are moving up from the bottom of test scores I will think hard on giving you more money. Until then don’t waist your time or mine with increases. I’ll ok COLA raises but thst is it! That way you get what I get. We both break even. I’m tired of paying more every year and you not doing the job. It’s going to change one way or another. Look at all the parents home schooling now because of your failed ways. Show me change get more money. It’s that easy.

  • Jon and Ruth Ewig says:

    This is a miracle and it happened so fast. School Choice or tuition tax credits is needed. The money needs to move directly with each student during the school years. This takes the power away from the NEA, ALA, and PP who came out against the parents’ rights bill in the legislatures last session. It was a bold move for control. of the students. Some of the testifiers against Parents’s rights were counselors and teachers in our districts who were determined to “protect the children from us. It was to interfere with parents and families and teach the students to fear their parents and hide from their parents. Teachers are being trained in the colleges to speak against the citikzens as “white supremacists” who are victimizing other races. It is in the government system and goes by many names: SEL, CRT and DEI. Fairbanks North Star Borough school board has a “woke” school board with one or two exceptions. School board member Erin Morotti is very dangerous and controls the diversity committee. She first apologizes for our stealing the land from a specified group who used to own the land. She reads from a script. Daily students are to apologize for harming this people group.
    She instructs her committee to introduce themselves using their selected pronouns. She instructs them not to answer or ask any questions to those who are testifying. Noone is to break her rule or public testimony will be eliminated from the committee meeting. In the Daily News Miner the board recognized LGBTQ History Month last October by a vote of 4 to 3. Erin Morrotti was quoted: “As a member of the LGBTQ Community, I am grateful for a school district that recognizes the inherent worth and dignity of our queer students and staff.” BTW the diversity committee needs to be dissolved.
    In a podcast, Christian apologist Charlie Kirk interviewed James Lindsey about the book “Queering the American Child.” Pray for a covering over all of the children. Pray for truth to be revealed in our community and our country. Also, all Christians especially historians and ministers need to watch Eric Metaxas’ recent Documentary based on his book, “Letter to the American Church”. It can be accessed through the Epoch Times or can be purchased. Ministers have free access to the documentary online.

  • AK Fish says:

    Mismananged of federal COVID funds to use it as one time source to hire more tearchers needs to be emphasized (I am looking at you Anchorage School District-ASD) . ASD has 118 MILLION dollars in their unreserved funds account (Piggy Bank for any whim or desire) and have the audicity to come crying to the State that they are “broke”.

    They say they will have to layoff teachers and cut school programs if they don’t get more money or wring out yet another school bond approval from voters. Shame on you E.R. Sen. Kelly Merrick (R) for voting YES to override the Governor’s veto and nothing but praise for E.R. Rep. Jamie Allard (R) for voting NO to overide the Governor’s veto.

    • Proud Alaskan says:

      Kelly Merrick she’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
      She’s really on the left, you can’t trust her.
      Love it that Jamie Allard is in Juneau fighting for us.

    • Huffer says:

      totally agree

  • North to Alaska says:

    Maybe….just maybe, this will be the catalyst for the Republican party of Alaska and more importantly, Dunleavy, to start removing their worthless Republican Senators from office. There is nothing more potent then a Governor campaigning for the apposition candidate of a liberal legislature.

  • Clown World says:

    Alaska is a swirling in circles straight down the toilet. Another “red” state that’s actually a leftist hellscape in disguise.

  • Herman Nelson says:

    Hmmm… 6th place in nationwide spending per child, 49th place for nationwide academic performance. And the NEA drones want more money..? Sounds like they need to up their game before coming to the taxpayers for more money. If education was run as a business, a whole bunch of “educators” would be out looking for new jobs because they would’ve been laid off or fired.

  • Coliseum in the Snow says:

    By homeschooling and paying for private school, I save the state $132,000 a year. May I please have back my property taxes that go to ASD each year?

  • Bob Curtis says:

    Wonderful! The district offices have become huge bureaucracies with lucrative salaries. We do not approve a trickle-down system for our children and grandchildren in Alaska’s defunct public educational system. Continue to stand tall Gov. Dunleavy.

  • Penny Johnson says:

    Mediocre Mike finally did something of consequence, for our state AND our children. Finally.