School Business Affairs June 2019

44 JUNE 2019 | SCHOOL BUSINESS AFFAIRS W hen she was growing up in Arizona, Judy Erekson wanted to be an elementary school teacher, but was encouraged to go into accounting. She worked in banking, natural foods retail, and media research before recognizing that the corporate world was not for her. In 1990, Erekson traveled from her home in Florida to visit her sister for the summer in Haines, Alaska, and ended up taking a job in public broadcasting, where she learned about fund accounting and lobbying legis- lators for public funds. She settled in Haines and soon had three daughters in school there. After attending a contentious school board meeting, she decided to run for office. She was elected as school board treasurer and successfully developed and ran a $14.5 million capital campaign to add a new K–8 component to a remodeled high school, combining three outdated buildings into one state-of- the-art facility. In 2009, after her third school board term, she was hired as Haines Borough School District’s bookkeeper, with responsibilities that quickly expanded. She joined Alaska ASBO and ASBO International, attending confer- ences and using trainings to help her learn the business. She has served as business manager since 2012. Located along Alaska’s Inside Passage about 90 miles north of Juneau, Haines Borough has a popula- tion of about 2,500. The single building Erekson helped remodel houses all K–12 students, with a current enroll- ment of 262. Erekson says that Alaska’s State Foundation fund- ing formula has traditionally been very consistent and forward funded, but the state has made drastic cuts to the formula and funding for services, so the district is gearing up for a lean budget season. However, she feels fortunate and proud that sound fiscal practices and focused leadership mean her district is poised to manage the changes ahead as well as it can. Erekson encourages colleagues to take advantage of ASBO resources, mentioning webinars and support networks in particular. “For me, since I don’t have a degree in accounting or business, ASBO training gives me the confidence to do my job more efficiently and to articulate when improvements need to be made or policies need revision. My ultimate goal is to receive my SFO certification from ASBO International in the near future,” she says. Erekson feels fortunate to enjoy the unique ben- efits of living where she does, citing easy access to outdoor recreation; a robust art, music, and cultural program; and the ability to serve healthy school lunches that include fresh local salmon and moose meat. “I live in one of the most beautiful places on this earth!” she says. Spotlight on Judy Erekson SBA ANYWHERE Use your member login to read, download, print, or share relevant resources, case studies, and articles with the digital School Business Affairs (SBA) . Looking for a specific article? Access every issue since 2009 in the digital SBA archives.