KODIAK, Alaska — A school district covering southern Alaska islands is shuttering one school and is facing additional budget cuts after student enrollment numbers dropped this year.
The Kodiak Island Borough School District approved a closure plan last week for Danger Bay School on Afognak Island after just six students enrolled for the current school year, the Kodiak Daily Mirror reported (http://bit.ly/2yOfJIY ).
Schools with less than 10 students are not funded by the state. The school that serves the Danger Bay logging camp has closed and reopened twice since 2006, with the most recent opening in 2015.
As the state begins enrollment counts next week, the outcome may lead to the loss of funding for the district’s Karluk and Port Lions schools.
“It’s very difficult to lose a school, and we may be looking at that in our future. So I think we’re going to be very careful about this,” District Superintendent Larry LeDoux said. “There were tears in parents’ eyes when we went through this process. . We’re going to be working with communities to find a way to make sure their kids are taken care of.”
Districts can keep schools open by using local funding at about $300,000 per school.
Under the closure plan, Danger Bay School will become a homeschool satellite district office. The school’s teacher was transferred to Port Lions School earlier this week. But the district is providing a teaching aide to assist Danger Bay families.
The district does not plan to close Port Lions or Karluk schools this year, but the district may be faced with additional budget cuts, LeDoux said. The district’s current budget is based on enrollment predictions.
Information from: Kodiak (Alaska) Daily Mirror, http://www.kodiakdailymirror.com