Prepare now for decline in student enrollment

A recent report from the school district that student enrollment is expected to continue to decline — by more than 500 students in the next five years — should give Peninsula residents food for thought. While the district expects losses to be spread out across the Peninsula, the number is equal to the current enrollment at the area’s largest high school.

What that means is this: the district administration, borough government and the public need to prepare to make some very difficult decisions in the very near future.

School configuration is never an easy topic, and this area provides no easy answers. Ideas that worked well 20 years ago may not be practical going forward. Change is hard to manage, particularly when the perception of the loss of something special, such as school identity, is involved.

We encourage the school board and district administration to continue to be proactive in addressing this issue. Over the years, district administrators have had to become experts in efficiency as well as education. Certainly, the next few years will put that experience to the test.

We also encourage the school district to be proactive with regard to preparing the public for upcoming changes. Begin educating Peninsula residents now of the pros and cons of potential changes to the way in which education is delivered. While it might not make decisions any easier, an informed community will be able to better contribute to the process.

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What others say: Obama’s legacy a mixed one

President Barack Obama leaves office Friday after eight years as the most consequential Democrat to occupy the White House since Lyndon Johnson. And unlike that Texan, whose presidency was born in tragedy and ended in failure, Obama will not have the ghost of the Vietnam War haunting his days and eating his conscience as LBJ did all the remaining days of his life.

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Op-ed: Trump won the news conference

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Good luck in Juneau

The 30th Alaska Legislature gavels in on Tuesday, and we’d like to take a moment to wish our Kenai Peninsula legislators good luck over the coming months in Juneau.

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