QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
Why do I want to serve on the Anchorage School Board?
My wife and I have twins in sixth grade. We need Anchorage schools to be the best they can be. 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, and improve curriculum.
I will use my years of legislative leadership experience to continue to fight for Anchorage’s fair share of State education funding.
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. Include the community in School District decisions, listen to the community, and be more responsive.
3. Think out of the box and find innovative solutions to provide better educational opportunities to students while meeting the challenges of state budget reductions.
4. Ensure that our schools are preparing our children for the futures they want; whether that be career/vocational or higher education.
5. Ensure that all children can read by 3rd grade.
Do I support Common Core?
Learning should be governed at the most local level which empowers parents and the community. Common Core is nationally driven at Washington DC and does not have Alaska’s nor Anchorage’s best interests in mind.
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.
Where do you stand regarding school funding?
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.
What are the cost drivers that are negatively impacting our school district?
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.
Administration ~ 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.