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Get ready for a busy August, Juneau

Election preparations and back-to-school season set to dominate month ahead

Posted: August 1, 2012 - 12:01am

With big meetings this month for the City and Borough Assembly and the Juneau School District’s Board of Education, not to mention candidate filing for those bodies beginning Friday, and new hires set to take the helm at two city agencies, August looks to be a very busy month for Alaska’s capital city.

The eighth month of the year usually makes for a full city calendar. But with both a one percent special sales tax extension and a nearly $25 million infrastructure bond issue poised to appear on the October ballot, as well as shakeups at the top at both the Community Development Department and Bartlett Regional Hospital, this August is looking particularly jam-packed.

The proposed sales tax extension and bond issue are among 12 ordinances introduced and set for public hearing at the Assembly’s July 16 meeting. Members of the public will have an opportunity to weigh in on Aug. 13, at the Assembly’s regular meeting.

City Clerk Laurie Sica said a decision by the Assembly on the sales tax and bond issue on Aug. 13, though not mandatory, would allow staff additional time to make the necessary election preparations.

“The latest date the Assembly could adopt an ordinance for the ballot would be the meeting of (Aug. 27),” Sica said. “But I think (City Manager) Kim (Kiefer) was trying to get those done earlier so we’d be done, and have more time to draft and put out the voter pamphlet, and get the ballot finalized.”

Sica added, “It’s not a drop-dead thing on the election ordinances that they have to be adopted on the 13th, but it sure would be nice.”

As chance would have it, Aug. 13 is also the last day for prospective candidates to file with Sica’s office for this year’s Assembly and school board elections,

“It just happens to coincide this year with the date of the closure of the candidate filing,” Sica explained.

The next day, Aug. 14, the school board is scheduled to meet. Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) testing results from the 2011-12 school year are expected to be on the agenda.

But Phil Loseby, the JSD’s assessment coordinator, said the Juneau public should get its first look before then, when the state releases data.

“The school board’s planning on talking about it on the 14th,” said Loseby. “It’ll go public probably a full week … before the board meeting.”

Christine Harff is expected to start work as Bartlett’s new chief executive officer on Aug. 15, a day after the school board meeting. She was hired earlier this summer to take over from interim CEO John Vowell.

Hal Hart, the incoming CDD director, will likely move up to Juneau sometime later in the month.

Most students return to school on Aug. 20. The first day of kindergarten is Aug. 23, while pre-kindergarten starts Aug. 28.

That latter date does double duty this year as well – as the day of Alaska’s primary election.

While none of Juneau’s legislators face contested primaries this year, two ballot measures will appear on primary ballots, including Ballot Measure 2, which would establish an Alaska Coastal Zone Management Program.

Classes start at the University of Alaska Southeast at Aug. 30, the penultimate day of the month.

• Contact reporter Mark D. Miller at 523-2279 or at mark.d.miller@juneauempire.com.

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