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State school board member loses seat after Web fray

Governor appoints Juneau's Sally Rue to board of education

Posted: Friday, March 24, 2000

Robert Gottstein, who started a Web page asking citizens to pick the top five ``clowns'' in the Legislature, has not been reappointed to the state Board of Education.

Sally Rue, a former Juneau School Board president, has been named to the board, along with Anchorage businessman Ernie Hall. Knowles also reappointed Paula Rae Pawlowski of Anchorage to a second term on the board. He announced the appointments Thursday.

Gottstein, a businessman in Anchorage, was criticized for bad judgment in starting a Web page referring to the Legislature as a circus, given that lawmakers hold the purse strings to state school funding.

The Web page, www.thealaskacircus.com, asked people to cast $10 votes for the legislators they thought were the biggest clowns. The money raised is to be used to defeat the top five vote-getters.

Bob King, a spokesman for Democratic Gov. Tony Knowles, said today that's not why Gottstein wasn't reappointed.

``These appointments really have nothing to do with Web pages, but everything to do with educating kids,'' King said. ``In the governor's final analysis he made his decisions based on picking the best people who can advocate for Alaska's children.''

Gottstein, reached in Anchorage this morning, said ``of course'' his involvement with the Web page is the reason he wasn't reappointed. Still, he doesn't regret starting the page, he said.

``Fighting for our kids was a struggle before I got on, it was a struggle when I got on, it's going to continue to be a struggle,'' he said.

The Legislature has not given schools the tools to operate effectively, including enough money, he said. ``I'm not anxious to sit on a board and watch this system fall apart.''

Gottstein's board term ended in January, but he could have been reappointed.

Hall, president of Alaska Furniture Manufacturers, has been deeply involved in both the education and business communities in Anchorage, King said.

Rue fills a vacant seat on the board previously held by Marilyn Webb.

Rue served on Juneau's school board, including a stint as president. She has been involved in various school district committees for 18 years, and has participated in statewide and local education summits.

She is also a special assistant in Lt. Gov. Fran Ulmer's office. Her husband, Frank, is commissioner of the state Department of Fish and Game.

Political connections are not why she was chosen, King said. ``Her appointment is based on her very solid educational credentials.''



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