After expressing interest last month in potentially eliminating the Ketchikan School District’s deputy superintendent position, Ketchikan School Board Member Diane Gubatayao is the subject of a formal complaint from the current officeholder, Melissa Johnson, the Ketchikan School Board confirmed on Wednesday evening.
Johnson asserted in her complaint that Gubatayao went into the board’s Feb. 22 meeting “with a personal vendetta to remove my current position of Assistant Supterintendent,” and is calling on Gubatayao to resign from the Ketchikan School Board. (The current name for the position is “assistant superintendent,” but the position next year would be renamed to “deputy superintendent.”)
Board President Stephen Bradford on Wednesday night said that he had been in contact with representatives from the Association of Alaska School Boards and with legal counsel regarding the complaint. He recommended that the board hold a public discussion item on the matter of the complaint at its next meeting, which Board Member Paul Robbins supported.
On that same topic, the board also confirmed that it had received a letter of concern from Ketchikan Indian Community President Norman Skan, also over the handling of the offering of the deputy superintendent contract.
Gubatayao had removed the offering of the district’s certified administrative contracts, including the offering of the deputy superintendent contract to Johnson, from the board’s consent calendar at the board’s Feb. 22 meeting, eventually “splitting the question” into two separate motions. The board at that meeting postponed consideration of the deputy superintendent contract to a later meeting to hold an executive session on the matter, and approved the offering of the remaining contracts.
Bradford said that the board took the letter of concern seriously as a government-to-government issue, and said the board would respond to the letter.
Later in the meeting, the board unanimously approved all items on its consent calendar, including the offering of the deputy superintendent contract to Johnson. Gubatayao initially abstained from the vote, but eventually voted yes after some deliberation after Bradford said an abstention was reserved for conflicts of interest.
Gubatayao apologized at the end of the meeting for her handling of that process.
“I’m sorry for any misunderstanding regarding the deputy superintendent position, because my motivation all along is budget concerns and cost concerns and trade-offs we’re having to make when we were told we’d have to cut $3 million and potentially 47 positions — yes, I wanted to understand the position,” said Gubatayao. “That was my intent, and not at all anything personal, and I am sorry how it was perceived.”
Also on Wednesday, the board heard an update on the district’s budgeting process from Superintendent Michael Robbins and reviewed the format for monthly budget updates it will receive from staff in the future.
Further coverage of Wednesday’s meeting will be published in a future edition of the Daily News.