My name is Jeffery Mayfield. I live in House District 25, where both Calvin Schrage and Mel Gillis are running for a chance to be our representative. As a parent of a child in our local public schools and a substitute teacher for Anchorage School District (before COVID-19), education is one of the most important things I will be voting on in this coming election. I wanted to talk about these candidates’ records on education.
Gillis says that he supports schools, and uses the evidence that his children and grandchildren attend or attended school here in Anchorage to support this, but actions speak louder than words. He stated open support for the governor’s vetoes of school bond debt reimbursement, which hurts our students (while raising local taxes). In an interview with Alaska Public Media, he made clear he does not support an increase in the Base Student Allocation (BSA) to account for inflation, saying that we need to “get more bang for our buck” with no solutions to do so. The BSA has not been increased since 2017, and this year accounted for a $20 million dollar deficit in ASD budget alone.
Gillis’s true views on education come from a recent ADN questionnaire. He was asked “What are your ideas to improve Alaska’s elementary and high schools?” His response was “No.” He refused to even answer the question. This implies a number of things; the first being that he has no actual plan to “get more bang for our buck” and second, that he would prefer to see larger class sizes than find meaningful solutions. I have written to him and his campaign to ask further questions on education but was ignored. This is disappointing for someone who is supposed to represent me in Juneau.
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