Homer High School opened its doors to an estimated 400 students in 1985. There are approximately 390 students enrolled for the 2014-2015 school year. (Photo by McKibben Jackinsky/Homer News)

Homer High School opened its doors to an estimated 400 students in 1985. There are approximately 390 students enrolled for the 2014-2015 school year. (Photo by McKibben Jackinsky/Homer News)

District explores consolidating schools in Homer, Seward

“Exploring the difficult concept of school consolidations or closures is a challenging task”

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District will explore the possibility of consolidating schools in both Homer and Seward.

Two new area meetings and surveys have been organized to gather input from the community.

“Exploring the difficult concept of school consolidations or closures is a challenging task,” a Wednesday press release from the school district said. “However, with fiscal uncertainty at the state and borough levels, it is an act of due diligence to have the conversations in order to learn community concerns and thoughts, and share with families and staff. In that light, KPBSD is being proactive to explore a number of possibilities to meet potentially significant funding cuts in all areas of our district, including southern, central, and eastern peninsula schools.”

In Homer, the school district is looking at the possibility of consolidating Homer Middle and Homer High School. The high school has the capacity to accommodate the middle school students, and consolidating would simplify transportation needs, the release said.

Closing Homer Middle School would save around $459,000 annually in operating costs, and avoid deferred maintenance costs of approximately $10 million, the release said.

In Seward, the district is hoping to hear community feedback on the possibility of consolidating Seward High School, Seward Middle School and sixth grade at William H. Seward Elementary. Sixth grade students from William H. Seward Elementary and students at Seward Middle School, which houses grades sixth through eighth, would potentially move into Seward High School. The release said the high school has the capacity to house the middle school students at this time. Transportation would also be simplified in this consolidation, the release said. The consolidation would save $409,000 annually in operating costs.

Homer High School Principal Doug Waclawski, Homer Middle School Principal Kari Dendurent, district administration, and the school board request thoughts and input about potentially consolidating schools in Homer through an online survey, and in person at 6 p.m., Monday, April 15 at the Homer High School commons.

Seward High School Principal, Trevan Walker, Seward Middle School Principal, Jenny Martin, William H. Seward Elementary School Principal, Alan Haskins, school administrators, district administration, and the school board request thoughts and input about potentially consolidating Seward schools through an online survey and in person at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, April 11 at William H. Seward Elementary School.

No decisions have been made. School closures or consolidations are dependent on funding from the state. It is unlikely school closures would occur in the Seward or Homer area as fast as the 2019-2020 school year, unless Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s proposed budget stands, the release said.

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