Story last updated at 2:03 p.m. Thursday, November 28, 2002

School board off base
I am an active supporter of our public schools. I have three children making their way through the public schools here in Kenai. I am vice president of our school's PTA and I also serve on the school's site council. But, I am sickened by what I saw occur at last Monday's school board meeting.

The teachers and the teachers union showed up in force to make a last pitch to the board before contract negotiations resumed the next day. I fully believe that the teachers deserve every penny they are asking for, and more. And, I fully believe that the school board wants to give it all to the teachers.

The problem is where is the money going to come from? And that has been the big question for the past year. Well, Monday night we found out where the money is coming from. The school board at the last minute decided to increase the classroom sizes in order to save money for the teachers.

This agenda item was sprung at the last minute so that parents would not be able to organize against the action. With the exception of one, Margaret Gilman, every school board member voted to increase the student-teacher ratio. And to my horror, not one teacher in the room stood up against the school board's decision.

There were many, many, teachers in the room all wearing blacks shirts which said "STAND UP FOR SCHOOLS," and not one of them stood up to stop the school board from increasing the size of our classrooms.

If you have children in public schools, your children will be negatively impacted by this decision. If this concerns you, I urge you to e-mail or call the school board members. They are: Nels Anderson,, Deborah Germano,, Sammy Crawford,, Joe Arness,, Debra Mullins,, Al Poindexter,, and the last school board member, who was the only person at the meeting who truly stood up for our children was Margaret Gilman,, and she deserves a real thank you.

Also, call the teachers union office and see why they allowed an increase in the student-teacher ratio!

Natasha Johnson, Kenai