Germano: Board president's priority is increased state funding

Posted: Thursday, September 27, 2001

Deborah Germano was first elected to the school board in 1995. The Homer parent, restaurant owner and telephone technician is now the board president.

She first got involved with the district through her children and became a member of the areawide parent advisory committee. She was concerned about class size and the quality of education, issues that still demand attention. That background and concerns about the direction the school board was taking in the early 1990s prompted her to run for the board the first time, she said.

This year, Germano thought about taking a break from the school board because of the many demands on her time, but decided to seek a third term, she said.

"I'm not done yet, and I'm too hard-headed to quit. There really are so many things that need to get done," she said.

Her current priority, she said, is to get more resources into the schools, specifically state funding. To do that, the school board needs to rally public support to lobby the Legislature for changes such as a long-range fiscal plan and an increase in the school foundation formula funding.

Lawmakers have been asking schools to improve, but they need to set priorities and give schools the tools to do what is asked. The schools cannot do more with less year after year, she said.

"We've got to admit that we've got to do something," she said. "They have to hear it from the public."

Germano said she brings balance and hard work to the board.

"I come to the table prepared," she said. "I try to make sure everyone's voice is heard. ... We do have a diverse board."

During the six years she has been on the board, she has seen significant improvements in the district. The district has more direction, cohesion and stability. It is also doing a better job of working with parents and really listening to the community, she said.

The willingness to be creative, to seek input and feedback is one of the district's greatest strengths, she said.

But she worries that the tight finances and increasing demands are stretching educators too thin.

"We've got far too few people in every job across this district trying to do far too much," she said. "It's going to kill us. That's how you burn people out."

Homer parent and physician Bill Bell said he has worked with Germano over the years through Little League and other community service groups and supports her candidacy.

People turn to Germano for help and donations, he said, and he admires her thoughts on education and her work on behalf of students and teachers.

"I am impressed by her tireless dedication," he said.

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