In final ruling, the judge blocks Alaska’s correspondence provisions and maintains the current rules through June. • Alaska Beacon

An Anchorage Superior Court judge on Thursday stayed until the end of the school year a ruling that invalidated two provisions of the state’s correspondence education law.

Judge Adolf Zeman has made a ruling delayknown as a ‘stay’, requested by claimants at a pronunciation he concluded in April that the state violated the Alaska Constitution by providing public funding to private schools through its apportionment program. The ban will remain in effect until June 30.

Along with the hold, Zeman gave a last judgement on the two provisions, effective in 2014. One provision regulated allocations and the other required school districts to write curricula for correspondence students, while also limiting what the state could require of these students. As part of the final verdict, he blocked the state from “spending public funds for the direct benefit of private educational institutions.”

That means if lawmakers and Governor Mike Dunleavy want to ensure any new laws or regulations are in place before the reprieve expires, they have less than two months to take action — unless the Alaska Supreme Court rules otherwise before then.

Thursday’s final ruling is a victory for the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, who didn’t want the current programs to end suddenly but also didn’t want them for next school year. It means that starting July 1, the state will no longer be able to spend money through the two provisions of state law unless the state Supreme Court extends the delay before then. The laws that Zeman deemed unconstitutional have allowed the state to pay correspondence families’ expenses, including students attending classes at private schools.

“The good news is that if there ever was a crisis, there is no more,” said plaintiff’s attorney Scott Kendall in response to Zeman’s final ruling. “There are things here that are easy to fix. And the one thing you can’t do is pay money to private schools or reimburse private school tuition.”

The government was unsuccessful in its request that Zeman suspend the ruling until the state Supreme Court rules on an appeal.

“A limited delay until the end of the fiscal year will ensure that any correspondence appropriations passed” under the invalidated provisions will be honored, Zeman wrote, “while minimizing the potential for continued unfettered unconstitutional spending.”

The administration has said that Zeman’s statement in April calls the entire correspondence program into question. The judge wrote in the stay order Thursday that the state had misread it, writing that the court “did not find that correspondence programs were unconstitutional.” He noted that correspondence programs existed before the state enacted the two provisions at issue, and he wrote that they still exist.

The state Department of Law did not immediately return a call seeking comment on the ruling.

According to Zeman’s statements, it is up to lawmakers to decide whether they want new correspondence program laws that go beyond what existed before 2014.

“To emphasize again, it is not the role of the Court to legislate and set policy for the state by improperly reviewing unconstitutional statutes,” Zeman wrote in the stay order.

Both chambers of the legislature are working on solutions regarding the judge’s ruling in April. But on Wednesday, Dunleavy suggested he would veto bills passed before the Supreme Court rules on an appeal. He said he could call the Legislature into special session after a ruling.

Reporter James Brooks contributed to this article.