Questions and Answers
Why do I want to serve on the Anchorage School Board?
When I first ran for School Board our twins were in sixth grade. They will be graduating in 2026 and we need Anchorage schools to be the best they can be for them and all Anchorage kids.
As a parent and former State Senator with a history of experience working with education and finance issues, I have been a voice for common sense on the School Board. I have worked to prioritize classroom needs, reduce administrative costs, increase parental involvement, promote patriotism and improve curriculum. During my time on the School Board, we faced the unique challenges of a major earthquake closing schools and the Covid pandemic.
I will continue to use my years of legislative leadership experience to fight for Anchorage’s fair share of State education funding. I will continue to advocate for expanding the currently limited use of proven successful traditional curriculum for math and reading. That includes Saxon Math and Spaulding Reading.
What is the purpose of Education?
I believe the public schools are the foundation of America’s greatness. Schools should be dynamic learning centers with a clear focused mission to prepare our children to be highly successful members of our community and nation in all its diversity. Our schools should help our students fulfill their potential and that includes preparing students for both higher and career/vocational education.
What are your top five priorities for the District?
1. Make sure our schools are safe places to learn and teach.
2. Ensure that all children can read by third grade.
3. Expanding the currently limited use of proven successful traditional curriculum including Saxon Math and Spaulding Reading.
4. Ensure that our schools are preparing our children for the futures they want; whether that be career/vocational or higher education.
5. Promote Patriotism and oppose radical agendas such as Critical Race Theory.
Do I support Common Core?
In 2012 with ASD Memorandum #230, the Anchorage School Board rejected Alaska State Standards and mandated the use of National Common Core Standards in all ASD schools. Since that time proficiency testing for math and reading has fallen below 40 percent. I support repealing the current failed Common Core mandate and allowing the entire community to have a say in the curriculum used in our schools.
Where do I stand on School Choice?
I support the variety of options we offer within the Municipality of Anchorage to include public, private, charter, language immersion, and alternative schools, vocational training, Ignite and Middle College schools and programs. I believe that the greatest diversity of learning options will create the greatest of opportunity of success for our diverse student population. One size does not fit all.
Home school parents should get the maximum assistance possible.
Where do you stand regarding school funding?
Every year I have served on the School Board I have proposed spending reductions to non-classroom related administrative costs. Almost all have been rejected by the Board. We must identify and examine all of the cost drivers that are causing education costs to sky rocket. We must ensure that the maximum percentage of every dollar spend is directly correlating to classroom learning. I don't believe we are currently maximizing value. As a parent I fully understand the value of a dollar and understand when you spend public money it must be with a high value returned.
Where do you stand on School District use of Critical Race Theory?
Critical Race Theory should not in any way be taught or used in our public schools. The official position of the ASD is that CRT is not taught in ASD classrooms. But the ASD has been involved with multiple CRT classes for voluntary attendance by ASD personnel. Additionally, I opposed the School District Administration’s plan announced in Fall 2019 to use Critical Race Theory to develop new District policy. I fought against the one-sided biased posting of only pro-CRT books on the ASD website and requested a fair representation of opposing opinions be posted also. The Administration refused to post any books in opposition to CRT but eventually removed the CRT books. I offered two proposals to prohibit the use of CRT in classrooms, but the Board voted against them.
What are the cost drivers that are negatively impacting our school district?
Inflation - During the past six years of essentially flat state funding of school inflation has been over 20 percent.
Healthcare ~ This portion of the budget is the fastest growing cost driver. Alaska pays more than any other state. We need to ensure that as national healthcare policy is revised, Alaska develops more options to hold costs down.
Energy ~ The high cost of energy and not implementing effective alternative solutions
Duplication of effort ~ We need to work with district employees to find ways to more efficiently deliver services. In recent years the first co-operative expense agreements were adopted between the school district and municipality. More such cost saving c0-operation should be pursued.
Administration ~Every year I have served on the School Board I have proposed spending reductions to non-classroom related administration costs. I voted against executive salary increases, against the Superintendent pay increase, and for cutting non-essential positions I have offered multiple budget amendments to reduce executive salaries, cut non-essential positions, and reduce administrative costs in the school budget. A disproportionate amount of school district funding is being lost in the cost of administrative overhead which should instead be directed at the classroom and core services.
What do you believe are Anchorage’s most significant limitations which hinder student achievement?
We need new ways to facilitate and increase parental involvement.
We need new ways to increase attendance and graduation rates.
We need to be more responsive to the needs and concerns of our community.
We need to expand proven successful traditional curriculum for math and reading.
Closing the performance gap.