Meredith Maple and Maggie Matheson run for Seat G
Three seats are open on the Board of Education; today, candidates for School Board Seat G, Meredith Maple and Maggie Matheson. In-person absentee voting is available through Monday, Oct. 2 at the Shoppers Forum Mall in Fairbanks, and at all three municipal clerks' offices: at the city halls in Fairbanks and North Pole and at the Borough building on Terminal Street.
Polling places open for voting on Election Day, Tuesday, Oct. 3.
Maggie Matheson has served three years on the school board. She is proud of a recently passed parental involvement policy, and says the district is too focused on Diversity, Inclusion and Equity policies.
None of her seven children are in any brick-and-mortar schools right now. But she just had a child graduate from high school. She explained her vote on an early start time for high school students.
And I voted for the earlier time because... some of our high schoolers need to provide for their household. They need, um, to have a job. Some of us have, um, co-curricular activities. If we start later, then we won't have enough time for our co curricular activities.”
Matheson is running against Meredith Maple. She is the director of the Fairbanks Children's Museum and the chair of the borough’s Early Childhood Development Commission and is on the Chamber of Commerce’s Education Committee. She introduced herself at a candidate forum hosted by government students at West Valley High School.
“I am running for school board because all of our students and all of our staff deserve to be seen and feel safe, and be represented. There are other candidates that have said that those words don't matter, but to every single one of you that has felt unsafe, or unseen, or not represented at school, you know the weight of those words, and that is why I'm running.”
Matheson told the students she wants to keep what she calls “radical” ideologies out of the curriculum and the school libraries. She was asked about her recent vote to approve a new health book for middle and high school students, but voted to reject the sex education supplement for their teachers.
“We did meet our standards, our policy standards and our curriculum standards with the book. The supplement, of course, was controversial and that's why it was a supplement. And with the budgetary constraints that we have, there was no room, to purchase an additional supplement that was controversial,” Matheson said.
Maple said she would like students to have comprehensive sex education.
“I was privileged to receive that in school and I hope that my daughter will as well. I believe that in deciding not to include a supplement that discusses the reality of the world we live in, the board undermined the fact that queer kids exist. And seeing that happen is hurtful and it's shameful,” Maple said.
This is the ninth year the government students, taught by Amy Galloway and Heather Demario, hosted the forum for school board candidates. Students asked about sexual abuse and assault cases that occur among students, where the victim and the perpetrator attend the same school.
Maple said the district should train administrators about sexual assault and trauma.
“One of the most important things that you brought to light in your question is a victim having to change classes or change schedule; that's not trauma-informed practice.
"I'm on the board of the domestic violence shelter here in town. We have experts that we could lean on for help in these things. It's the work I do that I wish most didn't have to be done. We also have a Title IX office at the district and so we do have somebody employed by the district that could make sure that we're treating victims with respect and protecting them,” Maple said.
Matheson says a district policy revision would help.
“Our work on policies is not done. My hope is to continue to work on the policies that we have started, um, set up guardrails for our educators on how to handle situations like this.” Matheson said.
A complete recording of the student forum, as well as other local non-partisan forums are posted on our website, fm.KUAC.org.