As the Kenai Peninsula School District moves forward with the Soldotna schools reconfiguration — from the existing school system into one of six elementary schools, a middle school, a ninth-grade house and a single tenth through twelfth-grade high school — it’s paramount that the work be done with the current student body in mind and in a manner that is wide open to the public.
Next comes the touchy stuff of staffing, school colors, athletics and activities; and it’s there that the community must know how and why the eventual conclusion is reached.
The nature of administering education from the district level down, nearly always, leads to vision being focused five-to-ten-years down the road. The danger is that those children in the system during the changeover face an education and school experience that is less than what the community would desire for them. Undoubtedly, school culture, athletics and activities are an important part of the total public school experience for students, families and the entire community. That importance is well represented in the responses by some from within the community that feel a loss over the combining of what were once competitors.
Regardless, love of school colors, sports teams or their mascots should never trump the nuts and bolts of a child’s education. The Soldotna and the Kenai Borough’s social welfare and workforce as a whole will benefit more from the investment in this transition by not sacrificing today’s education for a guess — no matter how educated — about tomorrow’s unknown.
While much of the initial action to arrive at consolidation has been accepted, no measure of how the district arrived at their decision through data or academic research has ever been released.
Transparency of this process means more than posting the conclusion on a website. The administration should be held to the same standards as the student body. They should thoroughly show thier work and explaine how they arrived at their conclusion.