2019 Juneau Municipal Elections

Uncertain funding and the future

Amid uncertain state funding for K-12 education and a downsizing of the University of Alaska system, what can the Juneau School Board do to prepare our students for the future? What advice would you have for a current Juneau high schooler about their future?

Amid uncertain state funding for K-12 education and a downsizing of the University of Alaska system, what can the Juneau School Board do to prepare our students for the future? What advice would you have for a current Juneau high schooler about their future?

  • School Board

    • Deedie Sorensen

      Candidate for School Board

      I think that it’s important for all of us to take a long look at what our high school students plan to do after high school. And while, you know, we send lots of our high school graduates off to college, not a particularly high percentage of them pursue a college degree. And it’s important, I believe, to make sure that students, as they leave high school, have a realistic idea about what it is that they might actually wish to do. And with the potential loss of (the University of Alaska Southeast) out there, I think that the Juneau School District is going to need to take a much broader look at how we can prepare students for other kinds of post-secondary careers, other than college.

    • Martin Stepetin Sr.

      Candidate for School Board

      I think that, in the face of low funding and getting our students prepared for the future, as you know, the strategic plan is coming up and I think we need to add to that strategic plan. … We need to entertain the idea of supporting trades: construction, labor, truck driving, carpentry, welding. In our current strategic plan, we focus highly on the universities. And we know that we send half of our students to the universities, but the other half are either unprepared or not ready for life after high school. So I think we need to focus on that.

    • Bonnie Jensen

      Candidate for School Board

      I would strongly encourage any student to attend college, whether it be in-state or out-of-state, they should look at all options. If they do not want to attend college, then at least finish high school and look at trade schools or some sort of activity that they enjoy doing, whether it be dance or music or sports. I think that our school board needs to ensure that we encourage the community and teachers and students to have a good relationship with each other. Drugs are a huge issue, and just with the town in general. I feel like education could play a positive role with reducing that problem.

    • Emil Robert Mackey III

      Candidate for School Board

      So the first thing I’d like to advise a graduating student from our school district is if you’re graduating, and there’s a degree for you in the University of Alaska system, especially here at the University of Alaska Southeast, take advantage of the in-state tuition. Stay in-state, get your education locally and cheaply. Don’t pay out-of-state tuition for a degree that’s worth just as much, with huge college debt on it. So that’s my first advice.

      As far as the school district goes, I think the biggest thing that we can do to help all students is basically realize that not all children are going to go to college. We need to have a comprehensive education system that concentrates on really CTE (career and technical education) and vocational education. We also, I think, could be strong partners with the community and with the Assembly on developing pre-K, which would take pressure off of special education and really give us more bang for our buck and prepare kids for to be ready to learn once they start kindergarten.

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