The Anchorage Daily News asked candidates for the April 2 election to the Anchorage School Board to answer a series of questions on issues facing those bodies. We’re publishing select responses daily. The answers were fact-checked when facts were cited and edited for spelling, grammar and writing style. To see all the responses, click here. For Assembly candidate surveys, click here.
Q: 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?
The district’s overall response during the earthquake was commendable. Emergency response plans were followed, students and staff were safe and sound and communication updates were great. However, there were missteps in the district’s response to the unique Eagle River situation, such as the lack of communication with stakeholders at the receiving schools, the failure to timely restore the food program, the lack of transparency in communicating with impacted families regarding the FEMA process and regarding the district’s long-term plan to return students to Eagle River Elementary and Gruening Middle School.
Kai Binkley Sims
As a parent I felt well informed by the district immediately after the earthquake. I understood that everyone was doing their best in an emergency situation. I have been following the Eagle River school situation very closely, and I know there has been a lot of recent frustration among parents and teachers. I have attended almost every public meeting relating to planning for Eagle River schools, and have talked to dozens of parents and teachers about possible solutions.
I was extremely proud of students, principals , teachers, bus drivers and all other staff in their responses and safety for each other and our children. We need to evaluate our responses to ensure that we did all that we could and be ready for the next crisis.
ASD spent in excess of $22 million just cleaning up schools, mostly ceiling tiles. The inspection process took longer than estimated. The ASD has bonded for millions to make schools emergency centers, Gruening for instance has a back-up diesel generator set, but failed as a structure. The Alaska Star ran the history of its design problems. Duck-and-cover worked, emergency procedures worked, as practiced, as did student pick up and notification. Parents in ER were given scheduling problems.
Ronald Stafford did not respond to the survey.