Board considers closing schools

Low enrollment endangers funding in Cooper Landing, Hope

Posted: Monday, January 16, 2006

The possibility of closing schools in Hope and Cooper Landing are items on the agenda of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education meeting, slated for 7 p.m. Monday.

Due to low student enrollment in the two rural communities, the school board will conduct a work session during the day Monday to review options. State funding is withdrawn if enrollments fall below 10 pupils, but the school board has the option to keep a school open regardless of such funding.

In a letter from Superintendent Donna Peterson to the board, Peterson said it is unlikely enrollment in either community will fall below 10 for the next school year.

She said, however, residents of Hope and Cooper Landing want to know options for the future.

The board also is scheduled to hear from the Community Action Coalition, a group of volunteers from central peninsula health and human service agencies planning to distribute a survey to central Kenai Peninsula schoolchildren next month.

The group’s Prevention Needs Assessments are to be given to students Feb. 22, asking about such topics as their drug, alcohol and tobacco use, the availability of community activities, kinds of family support, attendance at religious services and perception of the acceptance or risk of drug and alcohol use.

Students will be required to have parental consent to respond to the surveys.

Also on Monday’s agenda is the 2005-06 Midyear Report to the Board from Peterson.

The report includes information on 2006 Arctic Winter Games planning, the transition to a new borough administration, the Child Nutrition Act and wellness policy, continued work toward complying with “highly qualified” requirements for teachers and a status report on construction of the Seward Middle School.

The board also is slated to consider outsourcing the girls fast-pitch softball and boys baseball programs at Homer High School, girls fast-pitch softball at Seward High School and girls fast-pitch softball at Soldotna High School.

According to board administrative secretary Sally Tachick, the Homer and Seward programs have been outsourced for “a few years.” Outsourcing the Soldotna program is new.

She said outsourcing means the teams are funded by outside sources, but remain eligible to compete as usual and continue to be required to meet all rules regarding attendance and academic achievement.

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