Homer parents earn kudos

Posted: Thursday, November 06, 2003

Class sizes and pupil-teacher ratios may have dominated discussions at the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education meeting Monday in Homer, but there still was other business to attend to, as well.

Taking an opportunity for a rare positive moment, the board presented awards to two Homer-area parents: Virginia Espenshade and Paul Gavenus.

Board President Deborah Ger-mano honored the two for the countless hours of volunteer service they have provided in the school district, including work with youth court and mock trial groups and sporting events.

"And they are passing on to their children the value of volunteering," Germano said. The couple is hosting a foreign exchange student this year, and the entire family shows up to help with school events.

"The KPBSD is honored to have these dedicated volunteers working with students," Germano said.

Also Monday night, the board:

Approved 2003-04 teaching assignments for Catherine J. Baber, kindergarten through eighth-grade teacher, Cooper Landing; Kevin Marley, special education teacher, Nikiski Middle-Senior High; Christine L. Faber, special education and resource teacher, Paul Banks Elementary; Karlene D. Meyers, temporary sixth-grade teacher, Soldotna Elementary; and Allison Morgan, temporary special education teacher, Soldotna Middle School.

Approved the resignation of Barbara K. Titus, kindergarten through third-grade teacher at Port Graham School, effective Nov. 24.

Approved a recommendation to turn the Nikiski Elementary School facility over to the borough as of its closing Aug. 31 and to request the right to reoccupy the facility if necessary in the following two years.

Approved a set of legislative priorities for the state and federal government. The district will ask the Alaska Legislature to assure quality education for all students by assuring accountability for student achievement; raise the base allocation per student from $4,169 to $4,500 and inflation-proof the funding formula; fully fund contribution changes required for the Teachers' Retirement System and Public Employees' Retirement System; and adjust the funding formula to recognize the cost of doing business on the Kenai Peninsula. Federal priorities include full funding of the No Child Left Behind Act and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, improved technology access in rural and remote communities and extension of East End Road from Homer to the Russian village schools.

Approved a handful of "housekeeping" changes to board policies regarding administration and board bylaws. Changes included cleaning up and standardizing language, revising the superintendent's job description to reflect state standards and changing bylaws to reflect the changes to the board, including the election of members by district and the increase from seven to nine members.

Approved enrollment projections for the 2004-05 school year. The district is expecting about 9,392 students next year, down from the projected 9,456 this year. The district came in just above this year's enrollment projection as of the official count Oct. 1, but still expects the downward trend to continue over the next several years. Board member Debbie Holle of Kasilof proposed an amendment to the projections to reflect a higher current enrollment at Ninilchik School, but board President Deborah Germano of Homer countered that the current enrollment numbers all are based on the same date for consistency and that a conservative estimation of future enrollment suits the district's budget better than inflated expectations. The amendment failed 8-1, with only Holle in favor, and the projections as a whole were approved 8-1, with only Holle objecting.

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