A look at the candidates
Smith is a former school board member who lost last year to former state Sen. Bettye Davis.
He also served nine years on the Anchorage Assembly until he reached his term limit.
Before that, Smith served a term in the state House.
Smith raised eyebrows this week during an interview with Alaska Public Media when he blamed Anchorage’s diverse student body for problems within the district.
Smith took a similar stand during a previous KTVA interview where he blamed changing demographics for budget problems.
“The demographics in Anchorage has changed dramatically,” Smith said. “I mean, I think now, 52 percent of the school or the population is non-white. Many, many, many of these children are coming here by Social Service programs, we’re getting people that are being brought in here from Africa and Indonesia and placed in our schools, and yet, there’s no contribution from that side of the fence.”
Incumbent Perez-Verdia is seeking a second term.
Verdia was appointed to the school board in April after then-board member Gretchen Guess resigned.
Verdia has 20 years of experience working in education, and is currently the senior director of education at United Way of Anchorage.
“Really at the end of the day, it’s about kids, it’s about what’s best for our kids and that’s not always how we make the decisions, but it’s true of me,” he said. “That that will be the North Star that I use in making most of the decisions that I make.”