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
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.
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."
Note: Comments published
on Viewpoints are the opinions of the writer
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
Ketchikan Daily News - www.ketchikandailynews.com (Subscription
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.
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