SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Michael Fitzgerald

Candidate for Ketchikan Borough Assembly 2011
3-year term - Three Seats Open


Published: September 26, 2011
Received: September 23, 2011

jpg Michael Fitzgerald

Background info:

Ketchikan resident for 17 years
Married - Kathy Fitzgerald
3 children - Jamie-26, Adam-23, Sarah-17
Employment - PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center, Nurse Manager of New Horizons Tranitional Care Unit


Ketchikan School Board, 4 years, Vice President for 2 years

Candidate’s Statement:

My candidacy for Borough Assembly is entirely about assuring full funding for our schools.

I’ve served on the School Board for the last 4 years. This has brought a keen awareness of what an excellent service our School District provides—Ketchikan should be very proud of their schools and their students. I’ve also seen the unique challenges our local education system faces in providing a top-notch educational experience for our students in such a rural and remote location. I’ve been particularly disheartened over the course of the last two years to note that one of the biggest challenges for our schools has been precipitously falling funding levels from our own Borough.

One of the primary purposes of a Borough is to provide adequate funding for the local School District. Amazingly, our Borough representatives of late have labeled this responsibility a “penalty” when collecting the property taxes that are meant to go toward funding public education. With this new, mean-spirited mind set, they have slashed their contribution of those tax dollars toward school funding and diverted the money to other purposes, including a reduction of the mil rate to historically unrealistic levels—a move clearly calculated to assure their reelection—all at the expense of our school children.

Consider the following:

  • The Borough should adequately fund the Activities program so that everyone can participate. We spend only half of what other school districts our size in Alaska spend on Activities. I believe that ALL our students should be able to participate in (and travel for) school-associated activities—not only those that can afford the oftentimes prohibitive expense. It is no longer acceptable to expect a family to come up with the hundreds (sometimes thousands!) of dollars that are currently required to participate in activities.
  • Because of inadequate Borough funding for the current school year, the district will be faced with the specter of running out of funds to heat our schools this Winter.
  • Every time that State and Federal funding for education has been enhanced with one-time or short term increases, the Borough has decreased their contribution to the School District by the same amount. This is money that was intended to address the unique challenges that are inherent in providing quality education in rural Alaska, NOT provide the Borough Assembly with money to spend elsewhere.
  • The proportion of Borough funds actually spent on education has been steadily declining, from a high of 53% to the current low of 47.5%. It is simply not acceptable that less than half of the funds collected by the Borough go toward educating our children.

My desire is to serve on the Borough Assembly in a capacity that will correct this error in priorities. This can only happen if my election is clearly a mandate to increase funding for our schools. That is why I am basing my entire campaign on this one precept. The people will decide if full funding for the education of our children is the priority that Ketchikan needs.  Without a quality education system, our community will dwindle. I would like to see Ketchikan thrive again. Please vote for Michael Fitzgerald.



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SitNews 2011
Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska