Perspectives on Business and Economics, Vol. 40

47 said, the system is influenced by various factors at the local, state, and federal levels. The makeup of school districts today is largely influenced by the 1979 landmark Tobeluk v. Lind case, where teenagers sued the State of Alaska for discriminatory schooling (Tobeluk v. Lind, 1979). Students in rural areas had been forced to attend boarding schools because no schools were established in small villages. In these boarding schools, Native Alaskans fared poorly and had exceptional dropout rates (Cotton, 1984). At the conclusion of the case, the Tobeluk Consent Decree required the state government to provide schools in Native Alaskan villages and rural communities that have at least 15 high school–age people in their population (Haycox, 2006). Thus, this decree set the foundations for the state to manage districts with very small populations in remote areas, essentially resolving one problem, while creating great size differentials and isolated districts. Individual school districts are charged with operations at the local level. Districts create the content and performance standards for the schools and hire the superintendents (Center for Alaskan Education…, 2011). Alaska’s 53 school districts are organized into the following categories: cities, organized boroughs, and unorganized boroughs, among which there is a large size variance. Some districts may contain a single rural school site, while the largest district in the state, the Anchorage School District, supports 98 schools. Of Alaska’s 53 districts, 34 are in cities and organized boroughs, where their boundaries correspond with those of a local government (Legislative Finance Division, 2020). The organized boroughs and cities include 91.9% of Alaskan residents (Local Boundary Commission Staff, 2004). The districts in the unorganized boroughs are called Regional Educational Attendance Areas and these are not associated with municipal governments. As an outlier to the organized and unorganized groups, there is also one state-run boarding school still in existence that is not part of any district: Mt. Edgecumbe High School, in Sitka. Mt. Edgecumbe is a school operated by the Alaska Department of Education & Early Development. The school’s mission is to provide an education for students from isolated communities (Legislative Finance Division, 2020). This range of district sizes makes finding resources for each school a challenge. School Funding Education in Alaska is funded through a combination of local, state, and federal funding. The state legislature is responsible for calculating the education budget through an annual process that uses a formula to calculate how much money goes to each district. The formula consists of base student allocation and average attendance. It also accounts for school size, district cost, special needs, career and technical education costs, intensive services, and correspondence education. The final amount for each district is paid via local contribution, deductible federal impact aid, and state aid (Legislative Finance Division, 2020). The local contribution applies only to districts in organized boroughs and cities, which receive a portion of their funding from municipal governments. With no local governments in unorganized areas where local taxes can be collected, the unorganized schools are financially dependent on state and federal sources. For the organized boroughs, their local contribution is set by real property value, although local governments usually end up contributing more than what is required through voluntary local aid. The federal component of the funding is provided through paying 90% of the allowable impact aid that the funding formula allocates to each district. Impact aid is set up in place of local tax revenues for families working and living on federal property. Once local contributions and federal impact aid are tallied, the state funds the remaining balance. In addition to monies determined by the formula, the state provides funds for student transportation, where systems exist. The state also reimburses municipal governments up to 90% of their debt service for construction or maintenance (Legislative Finance Division, 2020). Alaska spends more on education per student than any other state, with the highest price tag coming from students enrolled at rural schools. In Alka, Alaska, located on an island, school spending per student is $74,766 per year. For perspective, this is more than it costs to attend a private elite university. The