Poindexter: Vocational programs essential

Posted: Wednesday, September 27, 2000

Al Poindexter doesn't teach anymore, but his interest in education still gets him behind the wheel of a bus or an absent teacher's desk once in a while. Poindexter is running for Kenai Peninsula Borough school board Seat D and wants to devote even more of his time to schools.

"Teaching in schools and kids have always been my passion," the retired educator said. "I still want to be involved."

Poindexter has lived on the peninsula since he was born in Seward, except for a few early years when his family lived outside of Alaska. He now owns and operates a greenhouse in Anchor Point.

Poindexter said the biggest concern facing the school board is a shortage of funds.

Name: Al Poindexter

Office sought: KPB School Board - Seat D

Age: 52

Occupation: Retired teacher, greenhouse owner

Family: Spouse Grace; children Chad, Crystal, Jennifer and Cameron

Residency in Alaska: Life

Education: Bachelors of Education, unfinished masters of voc. ed.

Political and government experience: President of Anchor Point Chamber of Commerce 1996-1998, Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly

Business and professional positions: Teacher and coach for 20 years; president of Alaska Association of Health, Physical Education and Recreation; and owner of Anchor Point Farms; manager of Anchor Point Greehouse

Service organization memberships: Alaska Farm Bureau

Best way for voters to reach me: Phone, 235-1034; e-mail, peat@xyz.net

"There's not a whole lot the school board can do about it," he said. "The school board will simply have to deal with the cards it's dealt."

He said the school board's response to funding problems must be prioritizing programs and making cuts where it can.

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

"I think voters need to vote for that," he said. "This district has some of the best maintained facilities in the country. But we need to maintain those."

Poindexter strongly supports additional funding for vocational education programs and said he wants to encourage board members to devote more resources to those programs.

"The school board has left vocational education in the dust. I really believe a lot of our students do not (intend to) go to college, and they need to have some practice in the trades," he said.

He called the current funding for vocational programs "lip service" and said that those programs "need to be revitalized, even if it means tightening our belts in some other areas."

Poindexter said he supports the current means of funding for sports and activities, through the above-the-cap spending by the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly. He said he is undecided on student activity fees.

The trend toward home schooling and Connections, the borough's cyber school program, merits study, Poindexter said, to determine why more students are choosing those options.

"Once we find out, then the district can figure out what we can do to keep these kids in school," Poindexter said.

He also said the educational alternatives to public schools provide healthy competition that "will ultimately make the schools better."

He said he is glad the district provides the Connections program.

"If this is the wave of the future, I'm glad we're doing it," he said.

Poindexter called the exit exams a good idea but said he worries that they might place more emphasis on credits than skills.

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