Ketchikan’s interim superintendent Melissa Johnson was recently passed over for the long-term position. But the school board is looking to keep her on in the newly-created position of assistant superintendent at her current salary.

A longtime Ketchikan educator, Johnson has led the district on a temporary basis for nearly a year following the abrupt departure of Ketchikan’s last full-time superintendent. Her salary would remain $130,000 plus benefits. That’s less than incoming superintendent, Michael Robbins, who will be paid $145,000 annually after he starts on July 1. Robbins is coming to Ketchikan from a district in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta about 100 miles from Bethel.

In other action proposed for Wednesday’s meeting, the Ketchikan Gateway Borough School Board will hold the first of two public hearings on the next year’s $42 million operating budget. It’s $673,950 more than last year’s but holds the line on spending in most areas. Some of the largest increases come from extra personnel and rising health insurance costs.

The Ketchikan borough’s contribution would be about $12 million from property taxes.

In other business, Ketchikan’s school board will be asked to approve about $57,000 for new playground equipment for Houghtaling  Elementary School. The new equipment would replace an aging structure affectionately known as “Old Rusty” with a blue two-story play structure complete with twisty slide, monkey bars, and a swing set.

“The rust and deteriorating metal is becoming a concern,” wrote business manager Katie Parrott in a memo.

District policy requires board approval of expenditures greater than $25,000.

And finally, the top three principal candidates for Ketchikan High School are scheduled to appear at a Friday evening public forum. Graham Storey, Richard Dormer, and Tom Vail will be at the Kayhi Library for an open interview with community members at 6 p.m. Friday, April 15.  A meet-and-greet will follow at 7 p.m.

Ketchikan’s school board meets at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the White Cliff Building. The meeting is live-streamed online and on local cable channels, and there’s time for public comment at the beginning of the meeting.