20 questions for Anchorage School Board candidates

The Anchorage Daily News asked candidates for Anchorage School Board in the 2019 election to answer a series of issue questions. Many of the questions were based on suggestions from readers, including those on Nextdoor. Here are their responses, in some cases edited for length and clarity. We did the same thing with candidates for Anchorage Assembly.

THE CANDIDATES (Individual candidate answers to all the questions)

School Board Seat A:

Margo Bellamy

Kai Binkley Sims

School Board Seat B:

David Nees

Starr Marsett


Ronald Stafford did not respond to the survey.

THE QUESTIONS (All candidates’ answers together)

What specific steps have you taken to prepare for this job? What strengths do you bring to office, and what in your life demonstrates those strengths?

Name two things the Anchorage School District does well and two things you think the school district needs to improve. As a school board member, what would you do about the two areas of improvement?

The Anchorage School Board decided last year to not change school start times after a lengthy study. Do you support this decision? Why or why not?

If you had to identify $10 million in cuts to the Anchorage School District’s budget, name two areas where you would look for cuts and two areas you would seek to protect.

The Anchorage School Board approved a three-year contract with the local teachers union in December 2018. If you were a member of the school board at that time, would you have voted in favor of that contract? Why or why not?

Have you ever worked for the Anchorage School District? If so, in what capacity?

What is the largest budget you’ve managed? State the amount, length of time and your level of responsibility.

How would you rate the Anchorage School District’s performance during or after the earthquake? What changes would you propose as a school board member

Do you support consolidation of under-utilized schools? Why or why not? If you do support consolidation, are there any schools you’d consider consolidating now?

What are your ideas for ensuring students and staff feel safe in Anchorage schools?

What are your thoughts on school vouchers or public support for private schools?

ASD’s graduation rates are among the lowest in the country. How can the school district take meaningful steps to boost this rate?

What will you do on the School Board to support students living in poverty, homeless students, and students in the foster-care system?

The biggest challenge facing the school district is (fill in the blank and explain)

What sex education and support services do you believe school-age children should be getting at school?

Does Anchorage need better preschool options for children? What steps would you take to increase the availability of preschool education?


What steps should ASD take to improve its career and technical education curriculum?

Do you vaccinate your children, and how do you feel about vaccination requirements for children entering the school system?

What specific ideas do you have to improve overall performance of students?

What important issue would you like to discuss here?