Ketchikan’s school board is set to consider resuming its search for a new superintendent. The recruiting effort has been on hold since July. That’s when the board said it couldn’t agree on three qualified finalists from the dozen applications submitted this summer.
Board members said at the time they’d resume the search in the fall. The school board on Wednesday will consider a roughly $7,300 agreement with the Association of Alaska School Boards to keep looking.
Melissa Johnson has led the district in an interim capacity since the departure of Beth Lougee earlier this year. Johnson said in an email Tuesday that she plans to apply for the long-term job.
In other business, the board is weighing a nearly $250,000 contract with Ketchikan’s Creekside Family Health Clinic for COVID-19 testing. The contract would support the district’s new “test-to-stay” program — that’s a setup that allows students to bypass quarantines after exposure to COVID-19 if they test negative and don’t show symptoms.
The initial agreement signed Dec. 2 runs through the end of January. But in an email, the school district’s business manager, Katie Parrott, says district officials hope to stretch the $240,000 program funding as far through the school year as possible. She says they’ll do that by prioritizing lower-cost tests whenever possible and using the outside testing provider only when necessary. District officials say they plan to float a longer-term contract once it’s a little clearer what demand for testing looks like.
Ketchikan’s school board is not expected to tweak the district’s mask policies. The board voted last month to only require masks at the highest of four school district COVID-19 risk levels, but cases have remained high, and masks are still mandatory.
At the board’s last meeting in mid-November, debate on a proposal that would base mask protocols on in-school COVID case counts, rather than community-wide case counts, was cut short by time limits. But Board Member Diane Gubatayao has indicated she intends to raise the issue next month.
Ketchikan’s school board meets at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the White Cliff Building on First Avenue. The meeting is live-streamed on local cable channels and at the borough’s website. The full agenda is at the school board’s website.