District 1, Crawford: District's biggest challenge remains budget

Posted: Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Sammy Crawford is all about community service.

After some 30 years of teaching in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, Crawford has spent the past five years on the district's board of education.

This fall, she's looking for another term, as she faces Gene Dyson for a one-year seat representing District 1-Kalifornsky.

"I really do believe people do have a duty to take action and to make their world a better place," she said.

"That's why I'm running. I believe everyone should do anything they can to make their community better."

Crawford said she believes it is her responsibility to provide a voice of experience on the school board during its transition from a seven- to nine-member board and during the current tumultuous times.

Crawford said the district's biggest challenge this year and in the foreseeable future will be budget problems.

"We're facing mandates from the state and federal governments, particularly the No Child Left Behind law. To deal with these is expensive. We do not have adequate state funding to meet the needs," she said.

"We've had to raise class sizes, and we're having to do more and more with less resources. I think any principal will tell you they're doing the best they can, they have excellent teachers, but they're scabbing things together trying to patch and make things work.

"The board has to do everything possible to make sure our students are prepared."

Crawford said she believes the peninsula still hosts one of the best school districts in the state.

"We have great students. ... Those kids are awesome. We have great teachers. They're some of the most enthusiastic and highly qualified in the state. We have great facilities. We have great parents and community support. The local participation of the assembly is outstanding. They do the best to make sure we are in the best possible situation."

Still, she said, "We need to have better state support and better federal support, especially when given mandates that are unfunded."

And, she added, the school board needs to have people who are willing to work together and fight for creative options to solve the district's challenges.

"It's really tough," she said. "People who expect a quick fix, that they can come in and tweak one thing, are just dreaming. It can't be done."

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