Board to mull Soldotna schools

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education will address the Soldotna schools reconfiguration issue during a public work session, a community meeting and its regular board meeting Monday.

No public commentary will be accepted during a 4:30 to 5 p.m. work session, however comments will be taken during the public meeting at 6 p.m. and again during the board meeting scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

All three meetings will be at the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly Chambers at the George A. Navarre Borough Administration Building at 144 N. Binkley St. in Soldotna.

District administration is recommending that the board approve the concept of combining Skyview and Soldotna High School students into a single grades 10-12 school; however a middle school structure has yet to be finalized.

According to district documents, if the board of education approved the concept of reconfiguring Skyview High School and Soldotna Middle school, the final plan would come before the board in the fall of 2014.

District spokesperson Pegge Erkeneff said further discussion was needed about where to house ninth-graders.

One concept the district had been considering since reconfiguration discussions began more than a year ago, Erkeneff said, was to put ninth grade students in a “house” at Soldotna Middle School.

“Right now, SoHi and Soldotna Middle School are two separate schools — so they’re each funded as a school,” she said. “Our understanding was that if a 9th grade house was put at Soldotna Middle School and adjacent to SoHi ... that it would turn it into one school. So we would lose funding.”

Erkeneff said losing funding for a school could be about an $800,000 loss.

“There’s nowhere for that money to come from and that’s another $800,000 out of classrooms,” she said.

The district has been working with the state and Erkeneff said there was new information available that could change the discussion.

“That’s why we’re wanting to ... take some time, go back to the communities, confirm funding,” Erkeneff said. “So we’re doing a little more research on that.”

Erkeneff said all of the information would be available during the work session and public meeting.

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