District 1, Dyson: Board needs new views to tackle old problems

Posted: Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Gene Dyson is gearing up for another run at the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education.

A self-proclaimed "career candidate," Dyson is on attempt No. 6 for the board and faces incumbent Sammy Crawford for a one-year seat in District 1-Kalifornsky.

"Once I start out something like that, I'm persistent," Dyson said. "Most people don't understand that when I feel something is wrong, I won't let it go. I know I'm right."

Dyson, who has lived on the peninsula since 1971, is a retired head custodian at Soldotna Elementary School. He and his wife, Yvonne, sent two children through the local public school system and now have two grandchildren in Soldotna schools.

Dyson said he believes the school board is in need of a change.

"Sammy said we need continuity. I looked up continuity, and it means uninterrupted duration of time," Dyson said. "That's our problem. It's been uninterrupted for the last five or six years. We need a change."

Dyson said he believes employee morale is at an all-time low and that school board members are out of touch with the general employees.

He also said he believes the board needs fresh blood to re-examine the financial choices being made in the district.

"They laid off 50 teachers and 14 custodians (last year)," Dyson said. "Was there an alternative? I think there was, but we didn't get it."

Dyson said he is concerned with the trend toward cutting teachers and raising class sizes and believes more cuts need to be taken from school administration, specifically principals and athletic directors.

And, he said, more attention needs to be paid to vocational education, which is the future for many of the peninsula's students.

"Maybe I can't solve the problems," he said, "but I'm going to try."

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