On June 27, the Alaska Supreme Court will consider an appeal to a lower court ruling that prohibits Alaskans from using state-funded homeschool allotment funds at private or religious schools.

The case has upended Alaska’s homeschool programs and cast doubt on whether families will be able to continue utilizing their allotments for educational opportunities at private or religiously affiliated institutions.

While the state is challenging Superior Court Judge Adolf Zeman’s ruling, the rationale behind his opinion threatens another state-funded program that allows students to spend scholarship money at private and religious colleges throughout Alaska.

The Alaska Performance Scholarship program, established in 2011, lets students use scholarships to attend private trade schools or Alaska colleges – even those that happen to have a religious connection.

More than 12,000 Alaska graduates have received performance scholarships since its inception, and while the vast majority use the funds to attend the state-run University of Alaska, nearly 400 students have opted for private or religious schools.

According to Zeman’s ruling, however, it is a violation of the Alaska Constitution to use any money for private or religious education. In issuing his April ruling, Zeman cited Article VII, Section I of the Alaska State Constitution which provides, “[n]o money shall be paid from public funds for the direct benefit of any religious or other private educational institution.”

Those who use the homeschool allotments argue that the funds don’t “directly benefit” the schools, but rather assist individual students in securing an alternative education, which might include taking courses at a private or religious school.

While homeschool allotments are a reimbursement to parents, the Performance Scholarships are paid directly to the institutes of higher learning where award recipients attend. In 2023, that included about 60 payments to private colleges and trade schools in Alaska.

According to the Alaska Performance Scholarship website, scholarships can be as much as $4,755 a year for certificate and degree programs offered by participating regionally and nationally accredited colleges and universities located in Alaska, as well as at approved career and technical institutions. The Alaska Legislature recently passed a bill that is now before Gov. Mike Dunleavy, which would increase the maximum yearly scholarship to $7,000 a year.

This money can help pay for tuition, fees, books, required tools and supplies, room and board and Transportation.

Approved institutions for the Performance Scholarships include Alaska Bible College, Alaska Christian College, Alaska Pacific University, Charter College, Wayland Baptist College and many other private or religious institutions.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy has been critical of Judge Zeman’s ruling, saying he would take the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, if necessary. Dunleavy argues that the ruling against homeschool allotment expenditures is so overly broad that it could be reasonably interpreted to ban state funding on any public expenditures to private vendors, educational groups, training organizations and much more.

State Sen. Shelley Hughes has expressed similar concerns, noting that Alaska has always spent public money to secure the services of private contractors, educators and businesses.

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Ruling against homeschool expenditures may threaten the Alaska Performance Scholarship

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.


  • Proud Alaskan says:

    Taking your kids out of these, public schools and the money goes away. The crazy left knows this, so they think you will send your kids back to these woke schools. So they can use the money to trans your kids
    without telling you, sick right.
    It makes sense, schools get money per kid attending their schools.
    Who cares what schools,Christian, private, homeschools etc.

  • Kasey says:

    Funny how they define “religious”, because public schools ARE “religious”. They teach homosexuality, transgenderism, abortion, and evolution. That is a distinct World View.

  • John J Otness says:


  • DaveMaxwell says:

    Don’t forget dunceleavy is chief idiot in regards to this pos public system! He smirks as he stands by and watches the destruction!

  • Izzie says:

    Homeschool is for the privileged.

    • TakeYourHandsOutofYourPockets says:

      Privileged to work hard, make sacrifices, and expend all your energies on raising the next generation. You got it! Absolutely, it’s a privilege.