School board members work with Assembly, mayor to keep schools closed after November 30 - Must Read Alaska
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School board members work with Assembly, mayor to keep schools closed after November 30

Some Anchorage school board members are working hand-in-glove with select Anchorage assembly members to extend the emergency powers of the mayor and keep schools closed, because some teachers do not want to return to the classroom.

A private meeting is planned for coming days between School Board member Deena Mitchell, Assembly members Meg Zalatel and Felix Rivera, and the Acting Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson to hammer out the agreement. Quinn-Davidson becomes mayor at 6:01 pm on Friday, Oct. 23. Zalatel, Rivera, and Quinn-Davidson are all subject to current attempts to recall them.

Other Assembly members have been approached to encourage the extension of the emergency orders and proclamation, which expires Nov. 30.

The emergency extension due to the COVID-19 pandemic would allow the school board to continue locking the schools, with the support and direction of the Anchorage Education Association, which has taken the position that there is no practical way to implement safeguards from the coronavirus.

Meanwhile, a petition is reportedly circulating in factions of the community to shut down the Ben Boeke ice arena once again, and return it to sheltering vagrants through the winter. The Sullivan Arena is also being used to shelter vagrants, as a way of spacing them out at existing homeless shelters.

The Anchorage School District has a plan in place for those parents and/or teachers who would prefer not to go back to school in person. Students can continue to get their education by the ASD online program. But they will not have the opportunity to return to the classroom, if the current plans unfold to extend the emergency declaration in Anchorage.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Time to stop paying school taxes. Return to the ckassroom or the citizens who pay school taxes need to stand on the desk of the assembly and deny them the taxes.

    • Maybe we should just get rid of public sector unions because they are communist cancer. Police unions and teachers unions are the absolute worst.

  • Total BS! Covid 19 is an act of God and as such the Assembly should declare null & void ALL ASD contracts. The school district certainly does not to keep a full roster of teachers on the payroll when practicing remote education. Get rid of at least 50% of teachers & administrators & pass the savings on to the hard pressed working families of Anchorage by way of reduced property taxes. This BS needs to stop!

  • Let’s start cutting the MULTI-MILLIONS of DOLLARS in monthly teacher and administrative salaries to these teachers who do not want to go back to work. I mean, what did they do during flu and pneumonia season for the last 100 years?? The same darn thing they are gonna have to do for this manmade flu/pneumonia: suck it up and get your lazy butts back to work OR GIVE UP YOUR ENORMOUS and EMBARRASSINGLY HIGH SALARIES

    • We took a $100,000 a year pay cut to leave Alaska. Put that in your pipe and smoke it. We left because it became obvious that no amount of money was worth staying a second longer. You say we’re paid too much because you haven’t walked a mile in our shoes and we say it’s not enough because we actually wear those shoes and know what the terrain looks and feels like.

      • “We took a 100K a year pay cut” proves RA’s point. Thanks Greg.

        • If you get two degrees, and go to school for six or seven years and put in 25 years of experience on the job and become one of the best if not the best person in your field in the state, then we’ll talk about how much money you think you’re worth.

      • So what are you saying, Greg? You were paid $100,000 more in Alaska than your new home in Florida? Kind of made our point didn’t you?

        • I’m not sure what you’re asking. We are retired now. When you take an audit of your life and you’re starting to get up there in years and your health is declining and you see things that really matter to you like missing your family then like we decided, no amount of money is worth missing that.

  • If they truly cared about students they would return to the classroom. Our students are falling behind and it will take a major effort to get them back to speed. Students in China are in the classroom.

  • The willingness on the part of these people to harm children and families is staggering. How did we let them take such control over education? There should by all rights be a mass exodus from this corrupt left wing debacle. That may be one good thing to come from this mess.

  • If they don’t want to go back to work then I’m sure that there are others who are willing to take their place. Hire ones who want to work. Kids are getting the brunt end of all this power struggle.

  • Welcome teachers to the rest of the world. The rest of us who work in the public already had to grapple with our own decision to go back to work in the public or not. Yes it’s a hard decision for everyone. Every grocery store clerk, nurse, waiter, bus/shuttle/taxi/uber driver, airline employee, gym worker, and dance teacher etc has to already decide between sheltering for their “health” and paying their bills. Just be thankful you had a job that allowed you to get paid to teach from home or remotely from your computer for so long. But at some point all teachers will have to do what most of us has already had to do…assess our own personal health risk level to decide whether to return to working in the public, or to retire, or look for other employment opportunities that work better for our level of risk. Say a big prayer like we all did, ask God’s guidance on the best path for you individually, and decide. The majority of Alaskan families want their kids back in school and that is the recommendation of the CDC as well. It’s the teachers unions, teachers (not all but many), and school boards that haven’t wanted our public school classes taught in the “public” so we haven’t been allowed to move forward to finding the best way to bring safety protocols into the public school classrooms like the private schools have already been doing throughout Alaska. IDEA and other homeschooling providers have gone up 400% and there was a huge move from our public schools to our Catholic/private schools. Why? Because the online remote learning that the school districts are offering are not working and parents are trying to get their kids either into a private in person classroom or get them out from behind their computer to teach them in person from home. Plus the thousands (millions?) of dollars the school district is loosing by not renting their gyms to volleyball clubs and other sports clubs, their pools to swim teams, and renting their theaters to dance studios or to the ballet company to hold a (modified) Nutcracker or family only recitals at least. The loss of student enrollment and loss of rental income will eventually effect how many teachers it will be able to afford. I suggest, if able health wise, that teachers return to your work in the classroom before your work in the classroom is no longer available.

    • Right on! The private sector has been working in the public since the beginning. Hey teachers, get over yourselves!

    • Exactly!!

    • Thank you DANCE TEACHER, MOTHER OF FAIRBANKS PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS.
      Well said ! Some of these teachers ability to use their own critical thinking skills has severely diminished.

  • I am proud of the Mat-Su School District for how they have handled this. They outshine the ASD brilliantly.

    • So, school board members are “working” with Assembly, mayor to keep schools closed.
      .
      How about this:
      .
      Productive Anchorage residents are working together to file a class-action lawsuit to roll back (retroactively, of course) the school-assessment part of their property tax bills until schools are fully opened and damages are awarded to parents for time and money they’ve been forced to waste unnecessarily because schools were closed unnecessarily.
      .
      General Campbell, apparently you’re a lawyer, you’re on the conservative side of things, you’ve written brave words here, what would you charge productive Anchorage residents to start such a lawsuit, generate nationwide publicity to draw attention to it,
      .
      … and ask state and federal Department(s) of Education to withold revenue sharing until Anchorage schools are fully opened?
      .
      What say you, Gentle Readers? Doesn’t look like this sh… (whoops, can’t say that!) stuff will stop until we stop it.
      .
      Seriously, elected and unelected officials don’t give a microscopic damn that yet another generation of Anchorage children are wasted academically —for no valid reason whatsoever—.
      .
      There’s no law that fits the crime being committed against Anchorage school children, so General Campbell, why not help productive Anchorage residents hit Anchorage’s education industry where it hurts the most, in its damned pocketbook.
      .
      And if Anchorage’s education industry crumbles and parents have to spend extra time and money building a world-class organization recognized for producing literate, productive, articulate, God-fearing, patriotic graduates
      .
      …that’ll be a good thing.
      .
      What say you, General Campbell?

      • Fantastic!

        ASD/MOA has removed my parental freedom and choice to allow my kids to go the school (which I’m already paying waaaay too much in taxes for.)

        Now I’m forced to:
        * Lose time from work while supervising this online chaos
        * Pay for higher internet / per kid
        * Pay for extra printer and paper / per kid

        And, now,
        * Bearing significant burdens from mental health directly related to this stay at home crap
        * Paying for mental health visits, Rx, care, etc which were not here before and are directly stress related

        And, next,
        * Having to pay for private school because the family unit can no longer handle this chaos.

        MOA/ASD Respectfully:
        ***Give back my taxes, or give me school…you can’t take both! ***

        @@@ MORRIGAN, is there a way to get involved in the lawsuuit?

        If anyone knows of a PARENT-REVOLT group, please provide that information! We know many anxious to join!

  • Thinking part of their meeting was to design their armband logos

  • Parents cannot stand for this deception and nonsense any longer. Our kids are suffering from this LAPTOP nonsense with no meaningful help. This whole COVID thing isn’t a matter for ANY government entity to start with. It’s a matter between an individual and his doctor. If the person decides he wants to wear a mask, fine, and if he doesn’t, that’s fine too. If a person is old or sick, and therefore in real danger, he should self-isolate at home while others establish herd immunity and the virus burns itself out. Kids have a 99.9% survival rate IF they get infected at all.. This nonsense of keeping schools closed is egregiously UNACCEPTABLE.

    It’s not something that should be legislated, especially by the kind of people who get into politics.

    I have to add that COVID-19 may be deadly for a limited few with EXISTING issues already, and the average age of the person it kills is 80. Even then, it’s only old people who are sick and have other problems who are in danger. So, yes, COVID-19 kills people—like scores of other diseases—but not people who are of working age, and absolutely not people under 30. Doctors around the world are being censored, who are trying to say Covid does NOT kill people, the condition they already had killed them while they simply had a symptom of Covid. Huge difference and proves this whole issue is WILLFULL deception.

    If these overly sensitive teachers keep this nonsense up, they just might not have any kids left to teach. Our kids will have more psychological problems than ever from continued laptop schooling while most learn little to NOTHING – with NO MEANINGFUL help from these teachers. Not to mention the kids who need to go to real class because of DV problems at home. The kids feel ABANDONED because they have been abandoned by those who choice to believe complete and utter exaggeration and deception about Covid. They believe everything the controlled national & local media says. Pathetic and we all are at the mercy of these weak people.

    This has become a Twilight Zone episode that won’t end.

  • Here is what United Airlines currently posts on their website: Your risk of exposure to COVID 19 is almost non-existent on our airplanes, even with every seat occupied.

    A crowded plane, and the Anchorage school board can’t get it right? Time for parents to take over.

  • The whole timing makes little sense to send kids back to school a week before Thanksgiving break
    Then send them to school for 2 weeks and then on Christmas break.
    That guarantees way more spread. When people are more than likely going to be around others at some point for the holidays.
    At least wait til after January 1st.
    It sounds like a safer more sensible option if you are going to attempt it.
    I think in all likelihood if you go the route of sending kids back right before the holidays you almost guarantee our healthcare is not going to be able to cope.

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