Magnitude of Ketchikan's education
By DeAnn Turner
March 04, 2008
I wanted to provide Mr. Edwardson with some additional information
regarding the KGBSD budget he commented on after the article
in the KDN's. I participated in the KGBSD budget sessions.
There were several notices in the newspaper announcing the dates
the budget sessions were to be held and that they were open to
Believe me - participating in this annual event is one of the
most frustrating endeavors I've ever experienced. I too was
frustrated by the lack of support for student activities. However,
what is even more frustrating is the level of funding the School
District as a whole receives from the Borough and State. It
isn't just student activities that are suffering. Maintenance,
upgrades in technology and curriculum supplies as well as many
other programs are also taking a hit.
I'm sure it is important to all families that their children
receive the best education possible. That costs money. I've
had three children in our local school system and have a granddaughter
who will be starting soon. Of course I want the best for not
only them but my neighbor's children as well. What most individuals
do not realize is the magnitude of the budget issues. Until I
participated in these annual budget review sessions, I didn't
have a clue what went into the School District's budget.
At the first session, each school or program representative is
given an opportunity to provide information as to why their school/program
is important and what each funding level means to their future
needs. Funding at one level means they keep the program they
currently have in place. Funding at another level means they
lose either teaching or support positions, supplies, etc. Funding
at another level means they can add to the school/program. After
the presentations are completed, we are then given a number of
points that we are to use to vote for what we believe to be a
workable budget. After that, all the votes are tallied and we
meet again to review. At that time, Superintendent Boyle makes
recommendations and further discussion is held until a sample
budget is hammered out that he can present to the School Board.
It is not an easy process. There are heated debates regarding
who believes their program is more important than someone else's.
If it is a matter of losing a program or funding student activities,
which one do you think will be voted down?
Student activities encompass a wide range of services from debate
club, drama club and of course, the athletic activities. Student
activities include Schoenbar Middle School as well as the high
school. I think most of the participants agreed that student
activities were an important part of the education system. I
also think that most of the participants understand how participation
in these extracurricular activities benefits not only the kids
but the community as well. Obviously living on an island with
little else for our children to participate in, I feel strongly
that student activities are a vital part of my children's education.
All my kids have participated in student activities of one sort
or another, and I've volunteered in a variety of different ways.
Even with the amount that was approved for this year's student
activities, if I remember correctly, the Kayhi principal said
an additional $400,000 had to be raised to cover everything.
That's a lot of bake sales.
One comment from Doug Gregg, the principal at Revilla, was that
he felt by cutting the student activities from the budget, it
would garner more community awareness and hopefully more support
in the fight for additional funding. He felt if positions or
programs were eliminated, that did not have the same impact on
the community as cutting student activities would. If any of
you know Mr. Gregg, I'm sure you are all well aware of the countless
hours he has given to a variety of student activities in this
town, so although it was difficult to hear him put it that way,
I don't believe he is against student activities - I believe
he feels that it's time to get some community support for the
budget overall. What is needed now is more community awareness
and more community support to discuss the issue with State and
local representatives who control the funding. I believe that
is an area you would be instrumental in.
I don't know what the answers are - heck, I don't even know what
all the questions are, but I do know you have a lot of drive
and determination and can make a big difference in this situation.
Our State legislatures need to be aware of the difficulties
we are having with the level of funding provided. The KGB needs
to understand the difficulties the School District is experiencing
with their level of funding. The only way they are going to
know that is for all of us to get very vocal. I'm sure there
will be many opinions on how the funding provided can be best
spent - personnel, programs, etc. However, one thing to keep
in mind is that if more funding is provided - those funds have
to come from somewhere. Locally that usually means an increase
in either the property tax rate or apparently the assessed value
of homes - in other words, from all of us. So along that line,
year-long sustained economic development needs to continue to
be in the forefront of our local elected officials and members
of the community to return Ketchikan to the strong, vibrant community
it once was.
I would really like to watch your daughter play basketball at
Kayhi for however many years she has left. I'd like to continue
to watch my son as well and hopefully my granddaughter at some
point. Everyone needs to be involved in this process.
Received March 04, 2008 - Published
March 04, 2008
School Board: Come on guys! By Charles Edwardson
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