The Ketchikan School Board on Wednesday approved the acceptance of $1.45 million in federal COVID-19 relief money but voted down one of three proposed revisions to its policies.
Four members of the board voted against a proposed policy revision to clarify the way the board’s meeting agendas are prepared and to describe what actions shall not be taken at agenda-setting meetings.
Board President Kim Hodne, Vice President Diane Gubatayao and Board members Doug Gregg and Nicole Anderson voted against the proposed policy, focusing their objections solely on edits to the sentence of policy that currently states that “the School Board president and/or vice president, and/or clerk treasurer, and the Superintendent shall prepare an agenda for each meeting of the Board."
The proposed revision would have changed that sentence to state that “The School Board president or designee and the Superintendent shall prepare an agenda for each meeting of the board."
Those opposing the revision said it was unnecessarily restrictive and would prevent a diverse group of voices from weighing in on agenda-setting discussions. Its proponents — Board Clerk-Treasurer Bridget Mattson and Board members Jordan Tabb and Paul Robbins Jr., as well as Interim Superintendent Melissa Johnson — explained that the measure was meant to speed up the process of agreeing to a meeting agenda, and would bring the board’s policy into closer alignment with other Alaska districts.
The board ultimately voted 4-3 against the proposed revision. Kayhi student Braxton Zink, the board’s student representative, voted in favor of the policy revision, though his vote is ceremonial and does not factor into the passage of a motion.
Both of the two other policy revisions passed unanimously: a new section of board policy setting expectations for government-to-government consultations as well as a revision clarifying the district’s procedure for lowering flags. The latter motion was not amended to replace references to “half-mast” with “half-staff,” which Johnson said on Tuesday was the intended language of the resolution.
The board also approved a grant application to allow the district to apply for up to $10,000 for a refrigerator, a freezer and a milk cooler for Ketchikan Charter School’s annex at Holy Name Catholic School, and discussed the 2022-2023 school year calendar, the board’s travel budget and the district’s standardized test scores.
Wednesday’s meeting was the last full meeting for Hodne and Gregg, who did not seek reelection in this year’s Ketchikan Gateway Borough election. Borough voters elected former Board Member Stephen Bradford and newcomer Keenan Sanderson to replace them. (Board Member Nicole Anderson successfully ran to retain her spot on the board.)
Gregg chose not to speak during his comments at the end of the meeting, but Mattson thanked them both for their hard work on the board, especially in the middle of the pandemic.
Closing out the meeting, Hodne got choked up expressing his gratitude for serving on the board.
“I just want to say my heartfelt thanks to the board for this last year, to the community for the huge privilege and honor that it has been for me to serve. … And for the board to seat me here as the president was jaw-dropping for me, and extremely humbling,” Hodne said. “I’m just extremely grateful for being allowed this time up here.”