bird copyThe Ketchikan School Board Wednesday night discussed whether to continue participation on the Assembly / School Board Liaison Committee. The committee is made up of representatives of the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly and Ketchikan School Board.  The body discusses issues of mutual concern.

The Assembly and School Board have had a sometimes contentious relationship. Recently, there has been disagreement about fees charged to the school district for use of the pool and athletic fields.

School Board President Michelle O’Brien says she has served on the liaison committee for many years and feels the current committee has come a long way.

“This committee actually does accomplish things that are fruitful for both bodies, and I have been very pleased where we have come in the last year.”

But, she says, there are problems.

“It is not a conducive body when members that sit on that liaison committee choose to voice their own personal opinions and not the opinions of their collective body that they are there to represent. It is very troublesome to me that this has happened and happened again. That makes this committee take a huge step back.”

O’Brien says she is also concerned that there are no procedures in place to replace a member. Another concern is the formality of the meetings.

Board member Trevor Shaw also serves on the committee. He agrees that progress has been made. Shaw says the problem is people, not the process.

“The problem is leadership, and there are leadership problems on that committee. It’s getting in the way of a relationship that has come millions of miles, as an analogy from when I just got on the board three years ago. We’ve seen so much success and I don’t want to see personality and divisive comments as what’s hindering that process.”

Borough Mayor David Landis addressed the board Wednesday night. He says he has spoken with both O’Brien and Shaw and, based on discussions, believes the problems can be fixed.

“And I’ve committed to them that I’ll attend, myself, the remaining liaison committee meetings until new members are appointed, whether I will appoint them as the Borough Mayor, from the borough side, or a new mayor will. I’m certainly willing to help in the process and wanted to offer my help and assistance ongoing in that process.”

O’Brien says she will attend the next Assembly / School Board Liaison Committee meeting on June 14 and share school board member’s concerns. The issue also will be discussed at the School Board retreat on June 22nd.

School Superintendent Robert Boyle reported that Sheila Klosterman, an English teacher at Schoenbar Middle School, was offered and accepted the position of Assistant Principal at Houghtling Elementary School. Because it is a change from a teaching contract to an administrative contract, Boyle says the hire is subject to board approval. The board will consider Klosterman’s hire at it’s next regular meeting.

Also, the board approved a policy change regarding high school graduation requirements. Prior to voting, board member Trevor Shaw proposed an amendment stating that the career exploration course curriculum would include administration of the WorkKeys assessment.  The amended motion was approved unanimously in first reading.

The board tabled a motion to approve a revised contract with Tongass School of Arts and Sciences. That school’s Academic Policy Committee proposed changes to the enrollment policy. Changes primarily relate to the charter school’s wait list and lottery procedures. Because the current contract, rather than the revised contract, was presented to the school board, APC members were asked to submit a copy of the revised contract.

Also last night (Wednesday night) the board approved teaching contracts with Jacob Alquire at Ketchikan Charter School and Amy Baldwin and Lydia Kline at Tongass School of Arts and Sciences.

The board welcomed Gerik Sherrill, student representative on the Ketchikan School Board for 2016-2017. Sherrill is a Kayhi student.

The next regular meeting of the Ketchikan School Board is July 27 at 6pm in Borough Assembly Chambers.