Karluk school reopening with 10 students

Posted: Sunday, September 03, 2000

KODIAK (AP) -- The village school in Karluk is reopening this year after villagers assured the Kodiak Island Borough School District that at least 10 students would attend.

The school was closed last school year after the student population dropped below 10, the minimum required to qualify for state funding.

Now the school district is trying to find a new teacher, gathering and verifying academic and health records for each student, and repairing and readying the school building.

Villagers say reopening the local school will have a significant impact on Karluk, on the west coast of Kodiak Island about 75 miles west of Kodiak city.

''It helps the community out a lot -- it's nice to see our villagers come back,'' said Kathryn Reft, a post office worker whose two sons, Steven and Justin, took correspondence courses at home last year.

''I'm a working single mother and it's really tough to home-school and make a living.''

Reft said some families moved to Kodiak or to other villages so their children could attend school, and at least one student was sent to Mt. Edgecumbe Boarding school in Sitka. A few families moved back, she said, and there are now about a dozen families living in Karluk.

Before the school's closure, Karluk children and their families used the school gym for after-school and weekend activities, including basketball and volleyball.

''Last year when it was closed, it was pretty quiet here, and the kids didn't have much to do,'' said Sarah Reft, mother of a kindergartner. ''We're really hoping it'll stay open and more families will move back.''

Jack Walsh, village schools principal, said that while villagers and the school district are excited, the district is also concerned that at least 10 students remain throughout the year.

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