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KGB School Board Meeting Highlights
by Sharon Lint


January 28, 2005

Ketchikan, Alaska - In a regular meeting held Wednesday evening in the City Council Chambers, the Ketchikan School Board heard several budgetary reports from the Superintendent and staff. They also approved several motions, including two regarding the controversial Schoenbar and White Cliff Schools. Additionally, two presentations were given to the Board, the first offered by the students of the Ketchikan Charter School and the second by David Means, the School Board's Business Manager, supported by Angela Salazar, President and Chief Investment Strategist of Diversified Investments.

KCS MULTI-CULTURAL PRESENTATION: In introducing the KCS students, Kevin Johnson, a 7th grade teacher at KCS, enthused, "This is really special to methe students took extreme pride in their work and the self-initiative was awesome." Brian Fields, Andrew Negley and Davida Isaccs-Markle began the presentation by performing a typical native feast song while Brian held a replica of a Cherokee ceremonial staff that one of the students had made for the event.

The Board members then passed around a Yup'ik mask made by Becka Green as she explained its heritage and the materials she had used in its construction. Tina Wooley followed Becka by displaying an Aztec Sun Calendar she had duplicated and reporting on how the Aztec people kept time. Christian DelCarlo presented a detailed model of a Maidu native village. Andrew Negley reported that the two pieces of wood he had carved in the shape of hands were similar to those used by native medicine men to exorcise evil spirits. Davida Isaccs-Markle then finished up the presentation by treating the Board to a close-up examination of a small native canoe meticulously fashioned by his native mother's great-grandfather as well as an intricately woven cedar bark hat.

POWERPOINT INSURANCE PRESENTATION: The PowerPoint presentation given by Means and Salazar detailed information regarding the School District's current insurance programs. KGB School District practices a self-insurance plan combined with coverage provided by Great West for teachers and staff. After explaining the existing methods now exercised for funding and disbursement of the plans, Means went on to discuss hot issues and trends in the healthcare and insurance industries today. Explaining that the report was meant to be an informative one directed at supporting the reasons for his ongoing search for more affordable and responsive insurance for employees, Means told the Board, "I've asked Diversified to seek [other] proposals."

Also of interest were the following Reports and Motions:

CLAIMS: An informational report addressing the District's claims was brought before the Board by its Business Manager, David Means. The claims paid from January 17, 2005 to date totaled $240,306.08. Several of the claims required explanations to Board members, including a payment to Dr. Robert Barr for $5,000, one to Marilyn Burns Education Associates in the amount of $11,760.00 and a check to GE Capital for $290.93.

SUPERINTENDENT'S REPORT: Harry E. Martin gave the details of the Superintendent's Report. Speaking to the past problems regarding education funding, he said, "it appears certain that the PERS and TERS is going to be covered for at least another year." He also indicated a schedule of municipal and school bills had been included in his report, which he said had recently been introduced in the Alaska House and Senate.

Expanding on monetary issues, Martin pointed out the need for the Board to become serious about the Program Based Budget Process and to offer contracts to tenured teachers. He also identified a timeline for the Budget Process and a projection of student enrollments for the next school year. Regarding enrollments, he told the Board, "we are projecting an enrollment of 2,246 students." After explaining that this projection was based on information gathered from the PFD applications, he reported, "we are still not increasing in population, and [we are] projecting a decrease of little more than 2% next year of our kids." Specific enrollment totals per school were as follows: Houghtaling, 487; White Cliff, 143; Point Higgins, 218; Ketchikan Charter School, 180; Tongass School of Arts & Sciences, 156; Schoenbar Middle School, 298; Kayhi, 608; KRYF, 10; Revilla, 129; CORR, 17.

Ending on an upbeat note, Martin recognized the achievement by the Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District in receiving the RurAL CAP Annual Head Start Award for School District Collaboration at the recently held State Rural CAP meeting in Anchorage. In concluding, he stated, "I'd like to congratulate all of those people in the Special Ed Program and especially Evvy Barnes for making this award possible and for doing things in our program to collaborate with the Head Start Program as well as several other community groups and educational groups around the town of Ketchikan."


Unfinished Business:

4A. A Motion to approve new Board Policy 0520, School Accountability/Improvement, second reading, by Harry E. Martin, Superintendent, was adopted.

This motion adds Board Policies referring to State and Federal regulations and guidelines and was deemed necessary due to the implementation of the "No Child Left Behind" Federal regulations.

9A. A Motion to approve the regular meeting minutes of January 12, 2005 was adopted.

New Business:

11A. Ketchikan School Board members approved a motion to approve the FY05 Operating Fund Budget Revision #1 made by the Board's Business Manager, David Means. Overall increase to budget totaled $70,245.00.

Significant changes included the following:

  • Estimated foundation revenues were less than expected due to a low student count but was offset by appropriating cash reserves from last year.
  • Adjustments for expenditures regarding situation with White Cliff
  • Fuel oil cost increases
  • Adjustments to actual contracted or projected costs for employees
  • Reductions or eliminations of expenditures based on priority list of program based budget.

11B. A Motion to approve the 2005-2006 tenured teaching contracts was adopted.

11C. In regards to the highly-controversial issue of which students should move into Schoenbar Middle School, the Ketchikan School Board adopted the motion to approve grades 7-8 moving into Schoenbar School. (Read this story)

Of note, a concerned parent, Paul Potter, spoke out earlier in the meeting against the motion. Board Member, Mike Harpold, recognized Mr. Potter's concern prior to the vote, however, Harry E. Martin, Superintendent, assured the Board and attendees that all issues of concern regarding White Cliff were in hand. The Motion passed unanimously.

11D. In another highly controversial vote, the Motion to approve White Cliff grades K-6 moving into Kayhi was adopted. (Read this story)

Board Member Keith Smith dissented stating it was a premature motion and he believed Kayhi should have a voice in the decision making process.

The next regular meeting of the School Board is scheduled for 6:00 p.m., February 11, 2005.


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