Low enrollment threatens Haines-area school

Posted: Tuesday, August 08, 2000

HAINES (AP) -- Unless two more students enroll before Labor Day, Mosquito Lake School will fall below the state's minimum school size and could close its doors for good.

Although 17 students attended the school between Haines and Klukwan last year, the school is now two students short of the 10-student minimum for state funding this year.

''One family decided they didn't like our school and removed their kids. They had seven kids,'' said Haines Borough school superintendent Ron Erickson.

Promotion from the school that goes only through fourth grade, home-schooling and an option to attend nearby Klukwan School have cut into enrollment, Erickson said.

In years past, the school had as many as 25 students, but the area now has fewer families with school-age children, Erickson said.

''I'm hopeful that some of the families that have chosen other options will come back,'' Erickson said.

If less than 10 students are attending the school by the states October count days, the Haines Borough School District stands to lose $113,668 in state funding, Erickson said.

Some highway residents want to see the school stay open. They say the enrollment drop is temporary and there are enough families with very young families to justify operating the school in future years.

Ron Weishahn thinks other options should be pursued such as including fifth and sixth graders to increase enrollment

''Its too easy to think 'They're dropping below students, let's close it,' '' he said.

If Mosquito Lake closes, students would have to home-school, attend Klukwan School, or take a long bus ride to Haines Elementary every morning, Erickson said.

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