Elections in August tend to draw little attention and even less participation. This must not be the case in this summer’s primary for the public school district’s board of directors.
As San Juan’s only pediatrician, I care for many Island children, particularly those with special needs, and I’ve seen the impact of the many changes in the distinct on a full cohort of kids from kindergarten through high school graduation. Public education is in flux with challenges at federal and state levels over which we have little control. However, there are things we can influence making the 2017 local election a pivotal moment for the following reasons:
1) The positions contested were held by parents who were the key in guiding the district for the past decade and sustained development needs the same sorts of people.
2) The remaining board is too heavily tilted towards ex-educators and administrators.
3) Administration has gone through wrenching cycles of non-management to excessive micromanagement which demands increased oversight by new directors that have a vested interest in the future direction and stability of the district.
4.) Special education needs are not being met with a program clearly in disarray and stronger voices are needed to advocate for those children’s needs, to keep them in the district, and to avoid the increasing risk of litigation.
5.) The economic realities of life on our island continue to drive towards an aging demographic with little room for the young and those of modest means. This, in turn, can only accelerate the decline in school enrollment.
Heather Christensen is the right person to succeed Brent Snow as chair person. She is a skilled physician assistant who shares with me the medical care of many of the district’s students. With children at elementary school and the middle school she has a long term personal interest in our schools. She is an informed and thoughtful professional and parent who brings with her insight and commitment. Please join me in supporting her for Position 1 of the District Board of Directors.
Mark Fishaut MD FAAP
San Juan Island