School board testimony highlights

Posted: Thursday, January 24, 2002

Following are samples of comments made at the Monday school board meeting regarding upcoming contract negotiations between the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District and the unions representing its teachers and support staff:

"Demand excellence, but be willing to pay for it."

-- David McCard, first-grade teacher, Sterling Elementary School

"We are about to face the greatest teacher shortage in history."

-- David Daniel, fifth-grade teacher, Mountain View Elementary School in Kenai

We promote the "three Rs" of reading, 'riting and 'rithmetic in classrooms for students. Educators need another three Rs to do their jobs: respect, resources and remuneration.

-- Susan Ingels, sixth-grade teacher, West Homer Elementary School

"We have a tragedy in our district."

-- Terry McBee, art teacher, Soldotna Middle School

"Employees are angry. ... They do not feel you are meeting them halfway. ...

"The school district has to decide this is not a war. They have to decide. They have the finest teachers, and they are going to lose them all."

-- Megan O'Neill, parent from Mountain View Elementary School in Kenai

"I just think they are getting a raw deal, and it's giving Alaska a bad name. ... My cool teachers are not getting what they deserve."

-- Jozlyn Reynolds, sophomore, Skyview High School

"I appreciate what the school board does. I would not want to be in your shoes right now."

-- Jody Hibpshman, special education aide, Soldotna High School

"Growing up in Nikiski and choosing a teaching career, I thought I could stay on the Kenai Peninsula and afford a middle-class lifestyle for my family.

"It is getting tough. Pretty soon I'm going to have to make a choice."

-- Matt Boyle, grade five-six teacher, Nikiski Elementary School

"I get angry sometimes. ... I have not had a raise in years. If you look at inflation, I make less than I did 10 years ago. ... I would like to be paid for what I do."

--Penny Vadla, English teacher, Ninilchik School

"We have to find another way."

-- Jackie Ansotegui, administrative secretary, parent and PTA volunteer

"I have a North Roader's attitude. ... I think the Legislature thinks the teachers are going to roll over and die. That ain't going to happen."

-- Kent Sanders, science teacher, Nikiski Middle-Senior High School

"I can make more at Costco as a checker in my third year. ...

"No one in Alaska pays income tax, and we are not going to touch the permanent fund. I guess we are at a fork in the road."

-- Paul Zobeck, physical education teacher, Skyview High School

"If you want respect, you have to model respect. Sometimes I don't get that feeling. We are working so hard for you. We just want your respect."

-- Liz Burck, science teacher, Kenai Central High School

"Naively, I believed there was no way such a substandard contract could stand through negotiations. ... If I work for another 20 years, I will have earned the right to retire into poverty. ...

"Without significant gains, I cannot continue working for this district."

-- Richard Bartolowitz, computer teacher, Kenai Central High School

"We treat (educators) like dirt. ... I think we can scream louder in Juneau."

-- Kacey Cooper, parent volunteer, Tustumena Elementary School in Kasilof

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