Owen: Schools must regain public trust

Posted: Wednesday, September 27, 2000

Eager to be involved with his children's education, Faron E. Owen, head of the Kenai Tourism and Marketing Council, wants to sit on the Kenai Peninsula Borough school board. He is running for Seat D.

He is already an active parent. Owen is the Cubmaster of Cub Pack 654 in Nikiski, in which his third grade son is a cub scout.

"I want to make sure they have a quality education," Owen said, regarding his children.

Owen, who has lived on the peninsula for two years, said that the most important task facing the school board is reestablishing the credibility of its schools He cites the "huge shift" toward correspondance programs as evidence that the public's trust in its schools is shaken.

Name: Faron E. Owen

Office sought: KPB School Board - Seat D

Age: 31

Occupation: Executive director, Kenai Peninsula Tourism Marketing Council

Family: Spouse Angela; children Seth, Faron II, Faith, Declan

Residency in Alaska and the Kenai Peninsula: 2 years

Education: Attended Texas A&M University

Business and professional positions: Treasurer of Alaska Society of Convention and Visitors Bureaus; American Society of Association Executives, School to Careers Advisory Committee

Service organization memberships: Rotary, president of Peninsula Winter Games, cubmaster of Cub Pack 654 in Nikiski.

Best way for voters to reach me: phone, 283-8414; e-mail, faron@kenai peninsula.org

In his campaign brochure, Owen wrote that the trend toward correspondance programs "could ultimately undermine the entire school system."

Owen supports Proposition No. 1, the measure to allow the borough to issue bonds to pay for repairs to schools.

He said he may support some redistribution of spending within the school district.

"I would advocate doing things differently (with the budget) as long as they can be justified from an educational standpoint, a curricular standpoint and an ethical standpoint," Owen said.

He emphasized that his primary concern with funding redistribution is the effect it will have on students.

"How does this affect children?" he asked. "Is this beneficial for them or not? That should be the first and foremost question."

He added that his position with the Tourism and Marketing Council requires working with a budget and that he recognizes the importance of flexibility.

Sports and activities are important to Owen, who played football and soccer. He values the roles sports and activities play in keeping students out of trouble and in providing leadership opportunities.

"Students that participate (in sports and activities) are looked to as leaders, and kids need those opportunities," he said.

He also said he would like to see additional funding for vocational education.

Owen has mixed feelings about home schooling and Connections, the borough's cyber education program. He called the Connections program "an immediate fix to a financial problem." He said he wonders whether parents are using that program and similar ones for the free computers, and wants to study the demographics of people in the program to determine if this is true. He said he also fears that correspondance programs may not provide an education equal to that provided in schools.

He supports the statewide exit exams.

"We are setting a high bar for our students," he said. "I don't have a problem with that at all."

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