School board to review bilingual ed, nutrition policy

Posted: Monday, April 17, 2006

Discussions on bilingual education and a new nutrition policy in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District are expected to resume at school board meetings today.

Special work sessions are slated for 3 and 4 p.m. respectively for the Nutrition and Wellness Policy and English language learners.

A work session is also scheduled on boundary changes affecting students of Kalifornsky Beach Elementary School. That session will begin at 2:15 p.m.

Although the public may attend the work sessions, they will not be allowed to participate until the board of education meeting at 7 p.m.

At the school board meeting in Soldotna two weeks ago, 15 Native Alaskans and 100 people from Russian villages protested planned cuts in language classes for their children.

Schools Superintendent Donna Peterson suggested a work session and Assistant Superintendent Sam Stewart said the district would look into any possible federal funding for language programs.

The district’s goals have been to move English language learners toward English language proficiency as required by the state’s Annual Measurable Achievement Objectives, according to a memo to the board from Norma Holmgaard, director of federal programs for the district.

The school board also will meet on a proposed student nutrition and physical activity regulation that would essentially prohibit the sale of soda pop and junk food in schools.

At the April 3 school board meeting, debate on the new policy ranged from allowing students to make their own decisions on what they eat and drink, to an outright ban on sales of pop and junk food.

Some asked that schools be allowed to use pop machines after hours only so schools could continue generating money needed to pay for extracurricular activities.

Stewart told the board the district is mandated by the federal government to have a nutrition and wellness policy in place.

Overcrowding at Kalifornsky Beach Elementary School is prompting discussion on changing school boundaries.

Peterson said district officials “got some great ideas from the public when we met last week.” As a result, changing the boundaries might be necessary.

The school board meets in the Borough Building on Binkley Street.

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