Ketchikan’s school board is scheduled to discuss an agreement that would give local tribal officials a greater voice in how the district uses federal grant money targeting its Native students.
Board President Stephen Bradford says in a statement attached to Wednesday’s meeting agenda that Ketchikan Indian Community sent the agreement to the board following the latest government-to-government meeting between the board and KIC’s Tribal Council. The board is set to discuss possible changes to the draft agreement on Wednesday.
The draft agreement would require the school board to consult with the tribe before applying for any grant over $40,000 under the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act. That law provides funding for a wide variety of school programs ranging from education for Native students to free and reduced-price lunch.
The school district would also be required to share the district’s proposed budget, plans to increase graduation rates and demographic information, among other things. And KIC would be expected to provide information on best practices, share education resources and help to improve educational outcomes for Native students.
The draft agreement also mandates at least four meetings between the school board and tribal leaders every year, with at least one open to the public. If passed as written, that could run afoul of the state’s open meetings statute, which prohibits closed-door meetings of the full school board in all but a few limited circumstances.
Changes to the draft agreement would need to be approved by KIC before the school board gives final approval at a future meeting.
Wednesday’s meeting is open to the public and set to begin at 6 p.m. in the White Cliff building. Members of the public can share comments at the beginning of the meeting. It’s livestreamed on local cable channels and the borough’s website.
Raegan Miller is a Report for America corps member for KRBD. Your donation to match our RFA grant helps keep her writing stories like this one. Please consider making a tax-deductible contribution at KRBD.org/donate.