SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Local government
By Alaire Stanton


April 1, 2007

I would like to offer some perspective on the recent Ketchikan school district happenings. School superintendents and municipal managers come and go; life still goes on.

Last fall we elected two new School Board members. However, part of the recent problems in the School District can be traced back to the previous Board. Just prior to the election, they extended Supt. Martin's contract, tying the hands of incoming board members. This left the new Board few options regarding his evaluation and his possible responsiveness. A meaningful evaluation process this spring may have turned out very differently.

Secondly, I was really disappointed to read the mean-spirited and petty comments by the Supt in the Daily News (Thursday 3/29). It seems that at least one School Board member has followed his example with vicious remarks on the radio. That talk won't help future working relations. I've always felt that Supt. Martin was a fine school professional. Though I did not always agree with him, he has brought several real improvements to the district and he should be appreciated for that. But any superintendent has to figure out the personality of a new Board and to work with that Board as a whole. To point out individuals' foibles in a public meeting was inappropriate, as is having one's extended family writing letters and offering public testimony on one's behalf.

Furthermore, it is inappropriate for the Borough Assembly to act as if they are some sort of Super School Board. They are not. The School Board members are elected by as many (or more) voters than the Assembly. The School Board has the responsibility to hire and fire the Supt. and to set the Educational Policy in this Borough. The Assembly has the duty to approve the final budget and to supervise the Capital projects. (Their track record in this area has not been good.) Furthermore, it is totally inappropriate for individual Assembly members to attempt to blackmail the School Board and the community Education budget. The liaison meetings between the two bodies should only be about Capital projects. They should not be a meeting for the Assembly to browbeat whatever School Board members are there. The Assembly needs to buckle down and do their own job as outlined by the laws. If they need Supt Martin during the lawsuit over Schoenbar, then they can contact him and bring him here when needed.

This is a small town, in a remote spot. We have dedicated people who run and serve in elected office. We have to live together on this island and the less mud-slinging and name calling the easier it is.

Alaire Stanton
Ketchikan, AK

Received March 31, 2007 - Published April 01, 2007

About: "I've been a resident here for 53 years. I served 9 years on the School Board (5 of those as Pres). I also served 5 years on the City Council and 6 years as City Mayor."


Related News:

School Board fires Martin - The Ketchikan School Board Wednesday voted 4-3 to fire Harry Martin; Board Members Carl Webb, Russell Thomas and Matt Olsen voted no. During public comment at least 25 people spoke about the agenda item to terminate Martin's contract that... Read more...
Ketchikan Daily News - (Subscription Required)



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Ketchikan, Alaska