Name: Phil Burdick
How long have you lived in Sitka? In Alaska?: 31 and 31
Occupation: Educational consultant
Family: Wife-Sarah Ferrency/Children-Esther Burdick and Iona Ferrency
What is your community involvement, past and present?: I have been on many boards including Sitka Native Education Parent Committee, the Island Institute, Mt. Edgecumbe Preschool, and Youth Advocates of Sitka.
Have you previously run for public office? When and what office?: Ran for and was elected to CBS Assembly for a one year term in ‘98(ish)
Please describe any other previous government or other related experience: Twenty five years as teacher and administrator in Sitka School District.
Why are you running for a seat on the Sitka School Board?: I decided to enter this race because the Board needs a full team to address crucial issues like funding, contracts, strategic planning, and hiring a new Superintendent. We cannot afford delays in tackling these challenges.
What are your top priorities if elected?: Work with the board to attend to the immediate concerns (budget, superintendent hire) and make progress on the strategic plan.
Sitka voters will be asked to dedicate a one-percent seasonal sales tax to support the repair of school buildings. Do you support this proposal? Why or why not?: Yes. We need to stay on top of maintenance issues.
Sitka voters will consider amending the charter to allow municipal employees (but not school district employees) to serve on the Sitka School Board. Do you support this proposal? Why or why not?: Yes. We should all have the opportunity to serve in the community.
This summer a number of school staff and parents complained to the board that student activities funds were not being properly distributed. Do you have any thoughts on how to correct this perception?: Clear communication
The Alaska Board of Education is considering a ban on the participation of transgender students in sports and activities under their gender identity (except on multi-gender teams, or under their identity assigned at birth). Although this issue has yet to come before Sitka’s school board, do you have a position or a point of view that would guide your thinking?:
As a firm believer in Civil Rights and equity for all, I hope this District never chooses to take away a child’s opportunity.
In building its budgets, the Sitka School Board typically has to balance academics, activities, and class size (also called pupil-teacher ratio, or PTRs). In your view, should any of these three areas receive more weight?:
I believe we need to look at all areas when trying to deliver a balanced budget. There should be no sacred cows. It is difficult to say,”no” but at some point we need to make some difficult decisions.