2019 Juneau Municipal Elections

Early education

Should the Juneau School District do more to expand and improve early education opportunities? If so, how?

Should the Juneau School District do more to expand and improve early education opportunities? If so, how?

  • School Board

    • Deedie Sorensen

      Candidate for School Board

      I spent most of my career teaching kindergarten through second grade. I have a master’s in early childhood education. I am well aware of the importance of early opportunities for learning. There is not state funding for pre-K at this juncture. While we all need to push towards that, I think that realistically speaking, that is probably not on the horizon. The state funding for our existing programs is being marginalized, and I fear it will be, you know, we will see some really traumatic cuts potentially next year. But to the extent that we can support early childhood, pre-kindergarten programs as partners in the community, I think is very important.

    • Martin Stepetin Sr.

      Candidate for School Board

      I think we do need to focus more on early education pre-K. We have a (school) board right now that is supportive of that. We can legally spend foundation money from the state on pre-K. But that would mean we’re taking that money from somewhere else in the district that has been spent and probably has an interest to be spent on it in the future. But I believe we win and we lose a lot of our students in pre-K. They come to us not ready. They come to us delayed and behind. … We don’t have a strong enough support for pre-K. And I think we need to either put more money into it or put more resources into it, whatever that looks like. We need to do more to support pre-K.

    • Bonnie Jensen

      Candidate for School Board

      Yes, they should. But with our budget constraints, I don’t know what options would be available. It would be something that I would strongly look into. With my personal problems — I almost had to quit my job because I could not find daycare for my infant. And it would also help with reading. Well, reading levels all throughout grade school.

    • Emil Robert Mackey III

      Candidate for School Board

      I do believe that we should really partner with the Assembly and with the community to have quality pre-K for all of our children. And I want to stress pre-K — it can’t be just babysitting. We have to have curriculum that prepares kids, gets them already on a reading level, so that when they enter kindergarten, they’re ready to learn and have the skills necessary in order to learn. That’s going to take a little extra money. But it’s also going to help the affordability for all young people, or childbearing-age people in Juneau. It’s also going to help us decrease costs on the backside with decreased special education cost. It’s also going to help every individual child really self-actualize and reach their full potential, or at least give them the opportunity to. And that’s really what we do at the school district, is to really make sure that every kid reaches their full potential.

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