Retaining graduates

School Board Issues

Retaining graduates

Candidate Responses

How can schools encourage Juneau’s best and brightest students to return or remain in Juneau?

Emil Mackey (Photo by Lisa Phu/KTOO)

Emil “Robert” Mackey

That’s very tricky because I’m not sure that’s actually a school issue. I think that’s actually an economic issue. We have a very homogenous economy, not just in Juneau, but in Alaska in general. Until we can develop a broader economic foundation within Juneau, it’s going to be hard to keep those people.

However, we do have something that I think we underutilize and that is, we are the seat of government. You can be a regulator in any industry that you want to be and basically sit here in Juneau and do it. I don’t think a lot of people really appreciate the opportunities that the seat of government provides and I would like to see us expand our relationship with the state.

I would like to see both the high school and the college system — even though that’s not something I’d be part of — really partner with the state in order to have more internships, more experiences, and really increase the career awareness there. But I also would like to see more opportunities for students to have an understanding of bureaucracy.

By teaming up with the state and having internships and a way for the state to recognize internships as real experience that applies toward your first job toward the state, it also teaches you about bureaucracy. Really that’s where the rubber meets the road in government. We all talk about politics, but it’s the bureaucracy that actually sets the rules and implements policy. So learning that as an educational role as well as a future possible career choice.

The University of Alaska Southeast as well as the University of Alaska Anchorage both have master’s of public administration programs. I would like to see the school district possibly encourage the creation of a bachelor’s-level public administration or maybe a minor public administration route for undergraduates that we can then partner through the school district with on possibly one of the tech prep curriculums. Young adults can start learning about public administration and the career pathways through public administration while they’re still in high school, better understand government and possibly identify a career pathway within government that would keep them here.

Jason Hart (Photo by Lisa Phu/KTOO)

Jason Hart

In my eyes, it’s not so much a school problem. That’s more of an assembly problem. We have to get the affordable housing under control to where students can afford to work here, afford a house. When you come out of college – if you go to UAS or go down south and come back – with a lot of jobs, you’re not going to be able to make $250,000, $300,000 house payments just starting out, on top of having $500-$700 a month student loan payments. So we need to make Juneau a little more affordable to be able to bring people back.


Jeff Redmond

The problem is “brain drain,” right? I think Juneau doesn’t need to sell itself too hard. I think this is such a great community. Children a lot of times need to leave where they grew up, just by the nature of that; That’s true anywhere you go. How do we get them to stay here? I think we let them go, you know, like let true love be free, right? I think … let them see the rest of the world. I believe that they will come back because this is a really special place.

Andi Story

Andi Story

I think, in listening to the candidates, I could talk about housing and things like that, but having the quality public education system is very much right up there. Because where you raise your kids you want to know that they’re getting the best instruction possible and having a wide variety of activities, from extracurricular to hands-on science-based inquiry, learning about where we live. And I think our schools are doing a really good job.

If ever I get overwhelmed by the funding situation over at the capitol building, I go visit a school and see the kids and the good dynamics happening. Sure, we have things to improve, but we have personal attention, we’ve got nice sized schools. You know, continuing, that’s one of the reasons why I’m running is I want to continue to focus on quality schools for every kid.

Josh Keaton (Photo by Lisa Phu/KTOO)

Josh Keaton

That’s a complex question in that there’s a lot of things that are preventing our young students to return to Juneau and live as a young adult here in this community. Housing is one of those. Another thing is the student loan debt that is accrued by those students. Personally speaking, I graduated in four years and I still had significant student loan debt. In living here in this community with three roommates and an entry level government job, I was barely able to survive. From a school district standpoint, the school district should be focusing on providing those opportunities of college preparation to get those kids graduated in the least amount of time for those college-bound students so they don’t accrue so much student loan debt that it creates yet another barrier for them to return to Juneau.

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