SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Please do not invalidate the electoral process
By Choc Schafer & Karen Eakes


May 07, 2007
Monday PM

One of the most critical responsibilities of a school board under State law is to employ a superintendent. This means a school board hires, gives direction to, monitors the progress of, and, if determined in the best interest of students and the school district, terminates the employment of the superintendent.

The majority of the School Board voted to terminate the Superintendent's contract under part 12e of his contract, voluntarily signed by the Superintendent, which allowed dismissal for convenience. Using the "convenience" clause, which was recommended for inclusion in the contract by the Association of Alaska School Boards, does not mean that there were not underlying reasons and facts considered by the Board when the Superintendent was dismissed.

The alternative to dismissing for convenience , which provided in this case for 30 days notice and 6 months severance pay, is to dismiss "for cause" As we have learned from matters involving other administrators, dismissing for cause may lead to time consuming, expensive litigation. Dismissal for convenience does not. Board members chose this route to save the public time and money in a difficult process.

Dismissing for convenience does not mean dismissing for the heck of it. Over a period of time, Board members expressed concerns about the Superintendent's performance in a number of areas, including:

  • As board members, we repeatedly experienced misinformation, lack of full disclosure regarding information, or withholding of information by the Superintendent when the Board was involved with important and sensitive decisions.
  • Due to lack of budget oversight, a very large budget deficit was discovered in the fall. This error was not corrected in a swift manner as it should have been, but instead was used to create public division within the educational community and the community at large.
  • The Superintendent failed to supervise and evaluate some administrators in a timely and effective manner, which has resulted in great expense to the district.
  • In addition, the Superintendent did not publicly support some majority Board decisions creating an adversarial and ineffective relationship with the Board.

The people sponsoring this recall have chosen to ignore these facts.

As Board members, we had lost confidence and trust in the Superintendent. As elected public officials, we must be responsible and accountable to the public that elected us. That is what we have done.

The School Board is elected by the citizens of Ketchikan to make difficult decisions.

Please do not invalidate the electoral process by supporting this recall effort.

Choc Schafer, School Board Member
Karen Eakes, School Board Member
Ketchikan, AK

Received May 07, 2007 - Published May 07, 2007

About: Choc Schafer has been a School Board Member for seven years and is a 23 year resident of Ketchikan. Karen Eakes has been a School Board member for seven months and is a 33 year resident of Ketchikan



Note: Comments published on Viewpoints are the opinions of the writer
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.


Send A Letter -------Read Letters

E-mail the Editor at

Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska