Four people are running for two open seats on the Petersburg School Board in the October 5th municipal election. The group includes one incumbent—Jay Lister; one write-in—Carey Case; and two others—Jeff Hupp and Bill Schroepfer.
One of the open seats is Jay Lister’s and he has decided to run again. The other open seat is Cheryl File’s who is not running again after nine years volunteering on the board.
Jay Lister, Jeff Hupp, and Bill Schroepfer declined interviews and declined participating in a live forum answering questions from the public.
Carey Case has interviewed with KFSK. She’s lived in Petersburg for over 20 years and works for the U.S. Forest Service. Her husband also works for the Forest Service and they have a daughter who is a freshman in high school.
Case spoke with KFSK’s Angela Denning and says she’s running for school board for a few different reasons:
CASE: The big picture reason would be I do believe in public service, you know, I believe in investing in educators and our kids is a key to stronger communities. So that’s kind of the big picture reason. Secondly, I would say it’s a board I’ve always been interested in. I’ve also had a real healthy respect for the time commitment, and the amount of preparation needed to do a good job; and so probably a little intimidated by that. But I feel like I’m in a place in my life right now where I can do that. I could put in the time needed and the effort and do a good job. Like I said, my daughter is freshman in high school. So if I was going to do it, I’d like to do it when she’s in school and she has four more years. So the time is now. And why as a write in candidate? I mean, I can just kind of chalk that up to doing things the hard way, maybe. I know this makes things a little bit more difficult not having my name on the ballot but that’s kind of how I worked through things. And I felt like this was the time to throw my name in the hat so here we are.
DENNING: So you mentioned your daughter, she’s been through the elementary school, she’s been through the middle school, how has that experience been for your family?
CASE: It’s been very positive. I’ve been very pleased with the Petersburg School District, what they offer to kids and the involvement of the staff. I think we have an excellent staff here, which really makes a big difference.
DENNING: What are your priorities? As a candidate going into the school board, are there things that you would like to, say, change or improve on or what are your priorities?
CASE: Well, I would say a focus for me right now is I think staff burnout in the best of times is really a real thing. I think now, it’s probably even more real than educators even experience normally. So I think looking into ways to support the staff is very important. I think also looking at ways to offer quality training and continuing education opportunities are a big deal. I think that feeling invested in and being given opportunities for professional development really help with enjoying your work experience. It’s a way to support teachers and it’s a way to allow them to grow. I’m not saying that’s not happening now, I just think it’s a way to keep good staff and it’s a way to attract people to the school district. Petersburg is a great place, it’s beautiful, but there has to be other things to make people stay and people want to come.
DENNING: Now, as a write in candidate, you mentioned your name won’t be on the ballot. But how are you approaching that and getting people to, you know, know to write in your name.
CASE: I’m definitely doing things via social media. I did participate in a meet and greet out at sandy beach, which was great. You know, I’m out and about in the community. I’m available to be contacted. I am running ads in the Pilot, I plan to submit some things discussing where I stand as a candidate to them as well as working through KFSK also.
DENNING: Okay, well, thanks for your time, Carey. Is there anything that you wanted to add that we haven’t touched on?
CASE: Yeah, I would like to talk about–as I talked about earlier–I’m a write in candidate; that makes things a little bit more complicated. So when we get to voting, whether you’re absentee voting, early voting, or it’s October 5 and you’re casting your vote, if I’m the person you’d like to vote for when you look at the ballot for the school board candidates, my name will not be there. But there will be two spots for write in candidates. So what you’ll need to do is spell my name correctly. So that’s Carey Case—c-a-r-E-y, so “care” with a Y. (There’s a lot of ways to spell Carey). And Case is C-A-S-E.) So, you’ll need to write that in, spell it correctly, and fill in the bubble next to my name for that vote to count.
Jay Lister is the incumbent hoping to retain his seat. He’s been on the board for about seven years. He’s a local dentist and owns a bed and breakfast with his wife. They have three children including a daughter and son in high school. During the pandemic, Lister supported universal masking in schools only when there are COVID cases present. He voted in support of the district’s current mitigation plan, which requires masking for students unless they can be three feet apart.
Jeff Hupp owns the local building supplies business, Alaska Fibre. On social media, he has been open about his anti-masking stance. Hupp signed the petition against masking requirements at the schools. He and his wife have one school-aged daughter.
Bill Schroepfer works for Jeff Hupp at Alaska Fibre. He is married to longtime Petersburg resident Amanda Ohmer with school-aged kids. Schroepfer also signed the petition against masking requirements at the schools.