KPBSD board members quizz Chenault over next session

  • By Rashah McChesney
  • Tuesday, December 2, 2014 10:49pm
  • News

Kenai Peninsula Board of Education members sat down with Rep. Mike Chenault, R-Nikiski, to ask him about the upcoming legislative session — set to convene on Jan. 21. The following are paraphrased questions from school board members and Chenault’s answers.

Q: What are we looking at this year?

“I don’t know, it’s a new administration with new people.”

Q: Is there anything, in specific, that we’ve been lacking in the past years that you’d like to see from us?

“No, what’s lacking is the legislature’s ability to decide what they want to do. In all reality, we beat you guys up because we want higher graduation rates, you give us higher graduation rates and you want more money. We can’t tell you what we want to see and that’s a big one. We can’t tell you what we want and until we can tell you what we want, how can we hold you responsible for achieving those goals with whatever money happens to be available?”

Q: Has anybody thought about dipping into the state’s pockets to deal with deferred maintenance and infrastructure and giving the state an incredible economic boost? Some of the issue that we have are going to end up in court costing us money.

“Here’s the big problem. It depends on what you think about deferred maintenance? When was the last time the Kenai School District got money for deferred maintenance.”

Q: The state would benefit from (deferred maintenance spending) and what’s good for the state is good for us. What about spending on social programs that could help us save money in the future?

“In my tenure as a legislator, I have heard more sales pitches about ‘if we do that program, it’s going to save us. I have yet to see any one of those programs come back and say ‘here’s the money we saved.’ Not a one.”

Q: It comes back to not having to spend it.

“You could argue that. But, our spending goes up for social programs every year. You can tell me it didn’t go up as high this year because of a program, but it goes up every year.”

Q: (The cost of) your pizza goes up every year.

“It doesn’t go up every year. But, yeah, I mean we’ve have spent some exorbitant amounts of money on capital projects throughout the state that have kept Alaska out of the doldrums as far as what the rest of the U.S. has seen in the last recession. I think that helped, but the problem is that the state doesn’t have the money to do that and how do you justify spending that money. At the rate we’re going, in four or five years, that’s what the bean counters say, we’ll be out of money if we keep spending at the rate we are.”

Q: What are you hearing on education-related bills? Are you hearing on some that are getting ready to be filed?

“Nothing probably new. I suspect that somebody is going to probably throw a (base student allocation) bill out there. There’s talk in some circles about an insurance pool. There’s some talk out there that if the state’s paying the bill, the state ought to be negotiating the (teacher’s) contracts. There’s different ideas out there, nothing new.”

Reach Rashah McChesney at

More in News

A moose is photographed in Kalifornsky, Alaska, in July 2020. (Peninsula Clarion file)
Illegal moose harvest down from past 5 years

The large majority of moose this year were harvested from North and South Kasilof River areas.

Renee Behymer and Katelyn Behymer (right) of Anchorage win this week’s vaccine lottery college scholarship sweepstakes. (Photo provided)
Dillingham and Anchorage residents win 6th vaccine lottery

“Get it done,” one winner said. “Protect us all, protect our elders and our grandchildren.”

Kenai Vice Mayor and council member Bob Molloy (center), council member Jim Glendening (right), council member Victoria Askin (far right), and council member Henry Knackstedt (far left) participate in a work session discussing the overhaul of Kenai election codes on Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska.
Kenai City Council gives sendoffs, certifies election results

Both council members-elect — Deborah Sounart and James Baisden — attended Wednesday.

This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. (CDC)
COVID is No. 3 underlying cause of death among Alaskans so far this year

The virus accounted for about 7.5% of all underlying causes of death after a review of death certificates.

Rep. David Eastman, R-Wasilla, speaks on the floor of the Alaska House of Representatives during a floor debate on Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021, over an appropriations bill during the Legislature’s third special session of the summer. Multiple organizations reported on Wednesday that Eastman is a lifetime member of the far-right organization the Oath Keepers. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Data leak shows state rep is member of far-right organization

Wasilla area lawmaker said he joined when Oath Keepers first started.

Christine Hutchison, who lives in Kenai and also serves on the Kenai Harbor Commission, testifies in support of the use of alternative treatments for COVID-19 during a meeting of the Kenai City Council on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Medical liberty’ petition brought to Kenai City Council

Some members of the public and Kenai City Council spoke against health mandates and in support of alternative treatments for COVID-19

Amber Kraxberger-Linson, a member of Trout Unlimited and streamwatch coordinator for the Chugach National Forest, works in the field in this undated photo. Kraxberger-Linson will be discussing at the Saturday, Oct. 23 International Fly Fishing Film Festival the organization’s educational programming for next summer. (Photo provided by Trout Unlimited)
Out on the water — and on the screen

Trout Unlimited to host fly fishing film festival Saturday.

This screen capture from surveillance footage released by the Anchorage Police Department shows a masked man vandalizing the Alaska Jewish Museum in Anchorage in May. (Courtesy photo / APD)
Museums statewide condemn antisemitic vandalism

Two incidents, one in May, one in September, have marred the museum this year.

Three speech language pathologists with the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District were recognized for excellence during the Alaska Speech-Language-Hearing Association last month. (Kenai Peninsula Borough School District)
Peninsula speech language therapists awarded for excellence

“I was very honored to be recognized by my peers and colleagues,” Evans said in an interview with the Clarion.

Most Read