Posted: Tuesday, June 06, 2000

State seeks relief in rural schools suit

JUNEAU -- Acknowledging that it provided incomplete information in a lawsuit, the Attorney General's office is asking a judge to refrain from ordering the state to immediately build or fix more rural schools.

Assistant Attorney General Jim Baldwin said mistakes of law were made that resulted in a ruling by Anchorage Superior Court Judge John Reese in favor of plaintiffs who claim that the state is providing inadequate school facilities for rural students.

Baldwin said the state's attorney underreported the amount of that had been spent in rural areas. He also said the judge should delay implementing any order because lawmakers this year took substantial steps to pay for more projects in rural schools.

Judge Reese ruled in September that the state violated the Alaska Constitution and federal civil rights law by providing inadequate school facilities in rural areas.

Anchorage attorney Collin Middleton, co-council for the plaintiffs, said Monday they have 30 days to reply to Baldwin's motion but that the judge was not lacking for information after two days of court arguments and a two-foot stack of briefs.

Would-be candidate misses deadline

KODIAK -- Kodiak Republican Frank Peterson Sr. missed a deadline to run for the state Senate seat being vacated by retiring Republican Sen. Jerry Mackie of Craig.

Peterson said his candidacy paperwork was postmarked by 5 p.m. June 1, as he understood was required by law.

But the law specifically requires that the paperwork either be physically delivered to election offices by the deadline, or that a one-page declaration of candidacy be received by telegraph or fax, said Virginia Breeze, a spokeswoman for the division.

Five Democrats from Southeast are vying for the Senate C seat against Republican Rep. Alan Austerman of Kodiak. They are Webster Demmert III of Klawock, John Waldron of Yakutat, Tim June of Haines, Aaron T. Isaacs Jr. of Klawock, and John Mielke of Skagway.

The seat represents a district that includes Kodiak and the rural islands of Southeast Alaska.

Peterson, a longtime Kodiak businessman, was born and raised near Akhiok and has served on the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly. Peterson said he waited until the last day to file because he wanted to see how many people would run for the seat.

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