The Ketchikan School Board seated two of its three newly elected members Wednesday, and chose a new board president.
Rachel Breithaupt and Matt Eisenhower took their oaths of office Wednesday before taking their seats with the board. Sonya Skan, the third board member elected last week, wasn’t able to attend the meeting and will be sworn in on the 24th.
The board then unanimously elected Eisenhower as the new board president.
Kim Hodne has been serving as the chair since the previous board president, Trevor Shaw, resigned. On Wednesday, Hodne was unanimously elected to remain vice president. Diane Gubatayao was unanimously elected clerk/treasurer.
Just one person spoke during public comment. Ketchikan Education Association Vice President Sarah Campbell spoke about the teachers’ frustration with ongoing contract negotiations. The teachers’ contract expired in spring of 2017.
The two sides met Oct. 3rd, and Campbell said the conversation was positive, but no action was taken.
“Once again, the response our team received was that they would have to come back to the board, once again, for clear direction on how to proceed forward,” she said. “It’s a delay in a process, to always have to wait two weeks to come back to prep the board, to talk to the board, to get clear direction on what they can and cannot do.”
Campbell said the KEA team has the authority to bargain a tentative agreement, and questioned why the district’s team does not. She suggests that the board appoint board members to serve on the negotiating team, and give it more authority to make decisions.
The board did meet in executive session to discuss negotiations. When they came back into regular session, Eisenhower announced that direction had been given, but no action was taken.
In an email to media after the meeting, Campbell expressed disappointment. She writes that an impasse remains, and the lack of action shows an unwillingness to move forward.