Soldotna schools reconfiguration plans set

The Soldotna Schools Reconfiguration was the topic of a work session of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District board Monday. Doug Hayman, Tustumena Elementary principal, spoke to the board and superintendents about the future plans of Soldotna’s schools.

 

The KPBSD board approved the reconfiguration of Soldotna area schools during their April meeting.

Hayman volunteered for the position of transitions coordinator for the reconfiguration and has experience with reconfiguration and school closures in other districts. .

“Some of the processes that I learned there I thought were important to try and share here,” Hayman said.

He began by explaining his action plan to the board to make sure everyone was updated.

The decisions that have been made to date are the configuration itself. There will be six elementary schools, one middle school, one ninth-grade house and a tenth through twelfth-grade high school with a time line of completion as August of 2014. He said he has met with the principals of the high schools and middle schools and is confident of the target date.

“I think we have a pretty good time line,” he said.

With the new plan, the pupil to eacher ratio will be 26 to one at the high school. Currently, the ratio is 24 to one.

The planning issue has been decided also with the current Skyview campus to become the middle school, the current middle school will become the ninth-grade house and the Soldotna High School becoming the main high school facility.

“Those decisions have been made,” he said.

Hayman said the decisions that have not been made include staffing, mascots, school colors, name change. Those decisions should be finalized in December.

“Those are the emotional things, none of those have been made,” he said

Hayman said the information about the reconfiguration, meetings and decisions that are made will be posted on a website through the school district. The goal is transparency.

“Everybody can know everything,” he said.

A task force will be formed, with up to sixteen people involved. The first of six meetings will be held Sept. 10 for the task force.

“We want to have those emotional, cultural and historical changes done by December, so the physical things, the staffing, can be done in the spring so everyone knows where they are going and what they are doing,” he said.

Another plan Hayman shared is the involvement of the students in the changes, a moving day of sorts, toward the end of the year.

“That is an opportunity to get students involved,” he said. “So in August, its real.”

The biggest focus is the students. He said his plan was to videotape students and share what they feel is important.

“Because, that’s what we are doing this for,” he said.

Sara J. Hardan can be reached at sara.hardan@peninsulaclarion.com.

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