Soldotna explores methods to keep community schools

Posted: Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Soldotna City Council and the public like the Soldotna Community Schools program, so classes and other activities will continue even though the school district is pulling its support, according to the city manager.

Tom Boedeker told the council last week the city is looking at its options now that the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District has said it will no longer be a sponsor of Soldotna Community Schools.

Although the school district officially ended its sponsorship last year, it gave the city a one-year extension to find a replacement sponsor or devise an alternate plan, according to Boedeker.

The school district will continue providing the classrooms for the community schools programs and will furnish such required equipment as slide projectors, but will no longer provide salary or other funding, Boedeker said.

The city has provided one-half of the cost for the program director and two part-time positions for the after-school programs. Those costs totaled about $74,000.

Receipts from program participants — tuition and fees — went to the school district in the past.

Boedeker said his office is looking into how the part-time positions will fit in with the city’s personnel system. The city will need to address whether the employees will be part of a union and, if so, which bargaining unit.

“We are in the development stages now,” Boedeker said.

He also said he would meet with the community schools’ Director Carmen Triana to discuss ideas about increasing revenues and trimming costs.

“It’s a matter of working out the details,” Boedeker said.

At one time, Kenai Peninsula College expressed interest in sponsoring the Community Schools Program, but Boedeker said they were only interested in the adult education portion of the programs, not such activities as “Toddler Time,” play activities for 1 to 3 years olds; or after-school activities such as indoor soccer for ninth through 12th grade students.

Boedeker said KPC would have phased out such programs.

He said there has not been any discussion about curtailing Soldotna Community Schools.

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