Story last updated at 2:29 p.m. Thursday, December 5, 2002

School board pays tribute to 3
Morris News Service-Alaska
The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education has been sailing a rough course the last several weeks, with most school board meetings consumed by parents, teachers and students discussing ongoing contract negotiations.

This week, however, board members got to change tacks and focus on the positive, honoring three peninsula people for their outstanding community service.

Soldotna High School senior Justin Freestone was the first honored at the school board meeting Monday night. Freestone is the assistant editor of the SoHi yearbook, a Muscular Dystrophy Association activist on the state and local level and an honor roll student, maintaining a 3.3 grade point average, said school board member Nels Anderson.

Freestone has been nominated for the Spirit of Youth awards program, which honors Alaska teen-agers who make positive contributions in their communities. Teens are nominated for the award, and all nominees receive a certificate and are invited to an awards banquet in the spring. Twenty finalists are selected to receive cash awards.

The board recognized Freestone for his nomination and positive contribution to the community, perseverance in the face of personal challenge and inspiration to others, Anderson said.

The school board also honored Kalifornsky Beach Elementary School teacher Linell McCrum and parent volunteer Jackie Ansotegui.

In other action, the school board:

  • Approved the following new teacher assignments: Holly L. Davis, temporary Title I teacher, Redoubt Elementary; Michael A. Houghton, science teacher, Chapman School; Angela Nelson, temporary school psychologist, districtwide; Tania A. Patiro, seventh- to 12th-grade science teacher, Voznesenka School; and Ada A. Sparks, language arts and drama teacher, Seward Middle-Senior High School;

  • Approved a $111,335 budget transfer to pay salaries and benefits for teachers, aides and a nurse at Aurora Borealis Charter School;

  • Approved an amended change to Board Policy 3313 -- Contracts, Leases and Agreements. The amendment allows the superintendent to forgo a bidding process when seeking facilities in remote locations, such as teacher housing in outlying villages;

  • Approved the early entrance of one student and a one-year expulsion of another student. All actions dealing with students are confidential;

  • Assigned members to district committees, including: Deb Germano and Sammy Crawford, custodial study committee; Margaret Gilman and Al Poindexter, budget committee; and Anderson, Deb Mullins and student representative Cameron Poindexter, drug testing policy exploration committee.