The Ketchikan School Board honored departing staff during Wednesday’s regular meeting – the final board meeting before school ends on June 2.
Superintendent Robert Boyle recognized David Boyd from the district’s maintenance department, Kayhi custodian Larry Mestas, and teachers Cheryl Elliott and Roxanne Abajian.
He says the district will miss each of them, and the experience they’ve brought to their jobs.
“Regardless of how well prepared, how well we replace, how well we plan, things will not be the same,” he said. “Because some of the people that we recognize in these transitions have had such a significant impact on our school system, our children and our community.”
Abajian has been a teacher in the Ketchikan School District for about 36 years. She spoke to the School Board about that experience, and the joy she’s found in the job.
“Those magical moments when a student gets it. The first time a student speaks, performs or reads. The eighth-grader who thanks you for spending nights studying with her so she won’t fail her classes. Teachers have that breakthrough with the kids, and we try not to cry. But often we do cry, because it’s joyous,” she said.
Also Wednesday, the School Board talked a little about the Alaska Legislature’s decision at the end of the extended regular session to cut education funding. Here’s Board Member Glenn Brown, who thanked Boyle for a strongly-worded condemnation of the Legislature’s decision.
“It was a pretty clear statement of priority from the Legislature,” he said. “I think there are few clearer than that was. To come from education and, I believe it went to bolster an oil-tax-credit fund.”
The Legislature still hasn’t finalized the budget, and the School Board took no action on the issue Wednesday. If it stands, the cut would mean an approximately $230,000 reduction in state funding to the local school district.
Also last night, the board approved the Ketchikan School District’s six-year capital improvement plan.
The top priority on that list is a new drop-off zone at Houghtaling Elementary School, followed closely by a roof replacement for that same school. The new drop-off zone is estimated to cost $588,000. The roof is estimated at $3.4 million.
In order of priority, other items on the CIP are security upgrades for Ketchikan High School; mechanical upgrades and a new roof at Point Higgins Elementary; and new biomass boilers at Kayhi.
The next Ketchikan School Board meeting is June 8.