Ketchikan School Board meets on March 11th, 2015 in Borough Assembly Chambers

Ketchikan School Board meets on March 11th, 2015 in Borough Assembly Chambers

The Ketchikan School Board took no action Wednesday on a second reading of a policy that would have recommended a minimum age for students to be dropped off from the school bus alone.  Local First Student bus company manager, Robert Wickman was asked to comment on the issue. “When you’re dealing with crying children and crying parents having a set rule will make it much easier to figure out where to go.”

The motion on the agenda was a recommendation, not a rule.  It was approved in first reading at the Board’s last meeting. However when the time came for a second reading, the Board was quiet.  Board Members Trevor Shaw and Glenn Brown spoke up to say they didn’t want to propose a motion they intended to vote against.

Without a motion, no vote was held and the Board moved on.

Superintendent Robert Boyle said he will take the issue back to the Transportation Committee for reworking. Boyle said he is pleased that no action was taken, because if it had been voted down he wouldn’t be able to bring it back to the Board.

The Board also looked at the latest version of the FY16 budget. The School District expects  to lose $900,000 in state funding. That number is better than the expected million dollar shortfall from a week ago, but is still fluid as the Legislature finalizes the state’s budget. The Board plans on asking the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly for an additional contribution to help maintain current staff, but expects to make cuts to programs. Board Member Glenn Brown asked that the next version of the budget include more programs that could be cut.

“You know we’re going to have to make some unpopular decisions, but a wider array of options would certainly make this easier.”

Other Board members agreed, saying they would rather have more options and be able to later reinstate programs rather than cut them at the last minute.

There are two remaining public meetings regarding the budget both held at the Ketchikan High School Library:  March 24th at 6:00pm and Saturday March 28th at 2:00pm.  Wednesday’s meeting was attended by just four School Board members. One seat is empty due to a resignation, and two other members, David Timmerman and Ralph Beardsworth, were absent. The next regularly scheduled School Board meeting is March 25th.