Melissa Burnett and Kaneisha Radgosky run for FNSB School Board seat D

Published: Sep. 23, 2022 at 4:45 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Melissa Burnett is running for seat D on the Fairbanks North Star Borough School Board.

This seat is currently held by Jennifer Luke, who is not running for reelection.

Burnett said she is running because she has three children in the school district. “I am a community member, a volunteer, a team manager, a coach. I have been in this community for 16 years, and everything I do has always been for the children.”

Burnett said her primary goal is to get the school board to be less divisive. “I get that everybody has a piece that they want to add, and everybody has such great information and great knowledge about everything. I just feel like we could use that to a much greater strength, and so my number one goal would be to bring that school board together, and then of course, work on the budget, get some teachers back in our schools and maybe lessen these class sizes.”

She said she’s been thinking about running for a few years, and wants to make the school district better for the community’s children. “I have been watching school board meetings for three, four years now, and honestly, I just don’t like what’s going on. I do believe our youth here at our community deserve a whole lot better than what our school board has recently provided, and I think that if we can come together and work together, we can solve some of these issues that include the budget, teacher shortages, bus driver issues, kids not getting to school on time... if we can just, as a board, come together and work on these solutions, we can fix what’s going on.”

Meanwhile, Radgosky said she is running because she wants a school board that responds to the needs of all students, educators and stakeholders. “We’re all different, and we need to look at each other’s different perspectives, because you learn that way. We need to compromise and come to agreements. We all parent differently, and that’s fine. That’s okay, but we just need to come together because it’s about the kids.”

She would like to see fair negotiations between the school district and the staff unions. “We want to attract and retain quality teachers, educators, and we need fair contract negotiations for that, and also for the educational support staff. They’re vital. We need everybody on board, and they need to be respected.”

Radgosky said she would like to increase transparency from the school board, using the closing of Joy Elementary School as an example. “Just be real about it. Tell us what’s going on. There are some things we cannot control, I totally understand that, but everybody being on the same page and being clear about it. Like with Joy, the public was told the kids were, for the most part, going to stay together, and the staff was going to stay with the kids, and that’s not what happened. The kids got split up to all these different schools.”

Burnett and Radgosky will appear on the ballot in the municipal elections on October 4.