Cohen vies for school board seat

Posted: Tuesday, July 25, 2000

Juneau School Board member Chuck Cohen will run again this year.

He wants to continue his advocacy of industrial arts courses and help plan the proposed new high school and renovation of Juneau-Douglas High School. He also wants to find ways to improve the staff and its morale and compensation.

Three of the seven school board seats are up for grabs in the Oct. 3 election. Members serve for three years. But Cohen was elected in October 1999 to serve out the remaining term of Joe Cladouhos, who resigned.

Board member Alan Schorr, who has served for nine years, has said he also will seek re-election. Six-year member Jeff Bush has said he will not run this year.

Cohen, 51, fishes commercially, manages property, including a mobile home park, and teaches business law at the University of Alaska Southeast. He also formerly practiced law.

Cohen said he's learned the intricacies of the budget and the school system's processes in his first year on the board. He served on committees relating to the budget, strategic planning, facilities and planning the new high school and renovating JDHS.

``Generally, I think we have a good school system in Juneau, but there are areas for improvement,'' he said.

Among Cohen's focus areas are the district's new objective of looking for ways to hire and retain good teachers and improve morale. ``How do we reward those teachers who spend 60 hours a week and give up time with their family?'' he said.

If the board fell down anywhere this past year, Cohen said, it was in the way it dealt with two groups' requests for charter schools. The board rejected both requests without taking a vote. After one motion to consider the proposals had failed for lack of a second, Cohen moved to do so, but no one seconded his motion either.

``I think when groups come before you, they're entitled to a decision and the reasons for your thinking,'' he said.

Prospective candidates must give the city clerk nominating petitions with the signatures of 25 qualified voters between Aug. 14 and 24. No one has picked up a nominating form for the school board seats, said Municipal Clerk Laurie Sica.

Candidates who plan to accept or spend campaign money prior to filing must send a letter of intent to the Alaska Public Offices Commission. So far, no one has done so for the school board seats, the commission said.



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