Skagway has two open seats for school board in the upcoming election, but just one person has filed to run. John Hischer is the current school board president and a licensed clinical social worker at the Dahl Memorial Clinic.
“First of all, this is my way of giving back to the community,” Hischer said. “I love this community and I love the school district and so this is a way to give back. And also I’m just a big believer in public education, I think it’s one of the more important institutions we have.”
Hischer says in his three years on the board so far, one of the things he’s proudest of is hiring the current superintendent, Josh Coughran.
“I think that we hit it out of the park, hiring him, and did a really good job with that.”
Some potentially big financial decisions are on the horizon for the Skagway district and board. Enrollment at the school has jumped this year. If the student count shakes out to 100 or above, administrators say the school would be in for a few hundred thousand dollars in additional state funding. Hischer has a few ideas about what that money could go towards.
“Just additional teachers, maybe it’s having single-grade classrooms. That’s one way we could possibly spend it.”
Right now, Skagway School has multi-grade classrooms. For example, grades K through 2nd are grouped together.
“Another thing I was thinking about is a possible K through 12 language program, I think it would just be great to have a kid start out in Kindergarten learning, say, French, and they go all through their senior year learning that, and just how proficient they would be.”
Hischer says in a second school board term, he’d like to encourage more people to show up to board meetings.
“You know, we have the same folks coming every time and it would be great to see more people attend the meetings.”
Hischer would also like the see more interest in people running for school board. Since there are two seats open and only one candidate running, he’s tried to convince other people to run.
“The one answer I keep getting is it’s just time. People are afraid of the time commitment and people are busy here. People support the kids in so many different ways here, so people are busy. I don’t think it’s a lack of interest in kids or the school, I just think people are busy doing lots of things.”
Hischer says he’s trying to convince people to get interested in the school board by telling them it’s one of the most rewarding things he’s done.
Stuart Brown is the other school board member whose seat is up for election. He is not seeking re-election.