"Money, money, money."
Homer resident Deb Germano knows the coming years will be a challenge for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, and financial issues are the biggest worry facing area schools.
But while serving on the district's board of education can be frustrating at times, she said it is an effort she wants to keep making.
Germano is a business owner and telephone technician, as well as a mother of two. She has been a member of the school board since 1995 and has held several positions on the board, including president in 2000-01 and clerk in 2002-03. She also sits on the board of directors for the Association of Alaska School Boards.
This fall, she's running for re-election to the newly reconfigured board and is unopposed for a three-year seat representing District 8-Homer.
She said she decided to run again because, "There's always more work to do."
Most of the work this year will focus on balancing an increasingly tight district budget, she said.
"I don't really see what we can do on a local level," Germano said. "There's a task force working on (funding for) extra-curricular and co-curricular activities, but I don't really see that as any kind of an answer. It's a one-year fix for a part of a budget problem. It will help that particular program in the long haul, but it's not going to change the finances of the district past one year."
The real solution, she believes, will have to come from the state showing more support for education, though she's not sure that will happen any time soon.
In the meantime, she said, her priority is to avoid further hikes to the pupil-teacher ratio, which would increase class sizes and cut teacher jobs.
"That's the top priority for me," she said.
Regardless of what happens, though, Germano said she believes the district has the human resources needed to face the challenges of the future.
"I'll tell you, I think we have great leadership in this district," she said. "Those folks really care about kids and really are looking at the best interest of kids in the district, and that makes me proud.
"They certainly are frustrated in their work, but I'm really proud of them."
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