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1/9/2019
Board to fill vacant seat

By SCOTT BOWLEN
Daily News Staff Writer

KETCHIKAN (KDN) — The Ketchikan School Board on Wednesday is scheduled to go through the process for filling the board seat vacated in late November by Kim Hodne.

One individual — Thomas Heutte — has applied as a candidate to complete the remainder of the three-year term that will conclude on Oct. 9.

“My interest comes from a passion for education and a desire to serve the community,” Heutte wrote in his application. “I am looking for opportunities to serve the community that would make good use of my time and talents as a way for me to become more connected with the community.”

This is Heutte’s second expression of interest in serving out the remainder of a School Board term.

In October, Heutte and Bridget Mattson applied to fill the vacancy that arose after School Board Member Rachel Breithaupt, who had been serving out the term of a former board member, was elected on Oct. 3 to a regular three-year term. The School Board then selected Mattson to serve the one-year remainder of Breithaupt’s former term.

According to the Ketchikan School Board bylaws, the board conducts the process to fill a vacancy, which in part includes soliciting applications, interviewing candidates at a public meeting and selecting an appointee by majority vote at a public meeting.

The board is scheduled to interview Heutte and conduct a vote of board members during its regular meeting on Wednesday evening.  

Heutte, whose application indicates that he served as an at-large member of the Ketchikan Charter School board in 2008-09, wrote that he regards the “public schools as an important institution that serves a strong role in keeping our increasingly fragmented society working functionally.

“I believe that a solid, broad-based education fosters good citizenship and helps all of us become a positive force in society,” Heutte wrote.

Responding to the application question of what he hopes to accomplish as an interim board member, Heutte wrote that he hopes to help foster a positive atmosphere in which the community, parents, board, administrators, faculty and staff work as a team to provide a “strong education for our children as we take on the many challenges our community faces.”

He wrote that he would serve on committees with the goal of producing quantifiable results in meeting challenges.

In addition to the Ketchikan Charter School board, Heutte cites previous service with the Harborview Elementary School Site Council in Juneau (recorder, 2012-2013); Juneau Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (at-large board member, 2013-14; treasurer, 2015; and vice-president, 2016); Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School Site Council (at-large member, 2014; chair, 2015-16).

The next regular election for the Ketchikan School Board is Oct. 1, with the newly elected board members to be seated on Oct. 9, according to Ketchikan Gateway Borough information.

Among other business on Wednesday, the School Board will:

• Consider accepting the resignation of Superintendent Robert Boyle, who submitted his letter of resignation on Dec. 17.

• Consider appointing up to four members of a new health insurance task force being created via a memorandum of agreement with the Ketchikan Education Association, with the goal of evaluating “creative and new solutions … to maintain approximate levels of health coverage while lowering overall health insurance costs,” according to board agenda information.

 • Consider a new memorandum of agreement between the district and the Tongass School of Arts and Sciences and Ketchikan Charter School. The document is intended to “clarify the terms of the contracts regarding budget and funding formula” between TSAS and KCS.

• Review the proposed 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school year calenders. Key dates on the proposed 2019-20 calender would be: Aug. 29, first day of school; Nov. 27-29, Thanksgiving break; Dec. 23-Jan. 3, Christmas break; March 13, no school, but parent-teacher conferences; March 16-20 Spring break; and June 4, last day of school. Key dates on the proposed 2020-21 calender would be: Aug. 27, first day of school; Nov. 25-27, Thanksgiving break; Dec. 21-Jan. 1, Christmas break; March 12, no school, but parent-teacher conferences; March 15-19, Spring Break; and June 4, last day of school.

Wednesday’s meeting is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. in the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly chambers at 1900 First Ave. There is time for public comment at the start of the meeting.