Interim superintendent shares progress

  • By IAN FOLEY
  • Wednesday, December 3, 2014 10:26pm
  • News

Interim Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Superintendant Sean Dusek had mostly positive news about the current state of the school district during a speech on Wednesday.

Speaking at a joint Kenai and Soldotna Chambers of Commerce luncheon held at the Kenai Visitor Center, Dusek focused on district enrollment, student performance and budgets.

Dusek recently took over from former superintendent Steve Atwater, who had left the district to for a position with the University of Alaska.

After introducing himself to members of the community, Dusek spoke of the district’s student enrollment.

While district-wide enrollment had been decreasing since before the 2010 fiscal year, that trend has reversed as enrollment started to increase in the 2014 fiscal year. Dusek said that he expects more growth in the future.

“I would expect that this would continue to change to the positive as we keep moving forward,” Dusek said.

Dusek said that the Skyview High School transition to Soldotna High School has been smoother than anticipated.

“With all indications, a lot of positives have been happening,” Dusek said. “The discipline problems that some people thought would happen haven’t happened. It’s been a pretty good transition academically, as well.”

Dusek went on to discuss student performance. According to statistics provided by Dusek, KPBSD students had higher proficiency levels in reading, writing, math and science compared to students from other areas of the state.

“(The reading scores are) outstanding and it certainly leads the way for the state,” Dusek said.

He said the state of Alaska is developing the Alaska Measures of Progress, a new way to assess student development.

“How do we compare to Anchorage, Kodiak or Mat-Su? We beat them,” Dusek said. We have beaten them every year.”

While Dusek was proud of the test scores, he said schools should also focus on teaching students how to think, communicate and be good employees.

“One bubble test should not define how good or bad (students) are,” Dusek said.

While the talk of student enrollment and student progress was positive, Dusek did have some concerns, particularly about the district’s budget.

“We’ve been running a deficit for a while, and we continue to dip into our savings, which is concerning.” Dusek said. “I’d like to see a long-term fix from the state level.”

The cost of health care has been increasing every year, leading the KPBSD to spend more than 80 percent of its budget on personnel and benefits.

“What we want to do when we budget is maintain at least the same level of service, but where that becomes problematic, you know, is our costs never go down,” Dusek said. “Our costs are going up, and I believe our state’s most valuable resource (is our students). So, that’s where I believe we should put our money.”

 

Reach Ian Foley at Ian.foley@peninsulaclarion.com.

More in News

Nate Rochon cleans fish after dipnetting in the Kasilof River, on June 25, 2019, in Kasilof, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
King closures continue; Kasilof dipnet opens Saturday

The early-run Kenai River king sport fishery remains closed, and fishing for kings of any size is prohibited

An "Al Gross for Congress" sign sits near the driveway to Gross’ home in Anchorage, Alaska, on Tuesday, June 21, 2022, after he announced plans to withdraw from the U.S. House race. Gross has given little explanation in two statements for why he is ending his campaign, and a woman who answered the door at the Gross home asked a reporter to leave the property. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)
Alaska judge rules Sweeney won’t advance to special election

JUNEAU — A state court judge ruled Friday that Alaska elections officials… Continue reading

Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion 
Soldotna City Manager Stephanie Queen listens to a presentation from Alaska Communications during a meeting of the Soldotna City Council on Wednesday, March 9, 2022 in Soldotna, Alaska.
ACS pilots fiber program in certain peninsula neighborhoods

The fiber to the home service will make available the fastest internet home speeds on the peninsula

Nurse Tracy Silta draws a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the walk-in clinic at the intersection of the Kenai Spur and Sterling Highways in Soldotna, Alaska on Wednesday, June 9, 2021. COVID-19 vaccines for kids younger than 5 years old are now approved by both the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Camille Botello / Peninsula Clarion)
COVID shots for kids under 5 available at public health

Roughly 18 million kids nationwide will now be eligible to get their COVID vaccines.

Megan Mitchell, left, and Nick McCoy protest the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision overturning of Roe v. Wade at the intersection of the Kenai Spur and Sterling highways on Friday, June 24, 2022 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Heartbroken’, ‘Betrayed’: Alaskans react to Roe decision

Supreme Court decision ends nearly 50 years of legally protected access to abortion

Demonstrators gather outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday, June 24, 2022. The Supreme Court has ended constitutional protections for abortion that had been in place nearly 50 years, a decision by its conservative majority to overturn the court’s landmark abortion cases. (AP Photo / Jose Luis Magana)
Alaskans react to Supreme Court overturn of Roe v. Wade

The Supreme Court has ended constitutional protections for abortion.

Tara Sweeney, a Republican seeking the sole U.S. House seat in Alaska, speaks during a forum for candidates, May 12, 2022, in Anchorage, Alaska. (AP Photo/ Mark Thiessen)
Lawsuit says Sweeney should advance in Alaska US House race

The lawsuit says the fifth-place finisher in the special primary, Republican Tara Sweeney, should be put on the August special election ballot

Gubernatorial candidate Bill Walker stands in the Peninsula Clarion office on Friday, May 6, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Alaska AFL-CIO endorses Walker, Murkowski, Peltola

The AFL-CIO is Alaska’s largest labor organization and has historically been one of its most powerful political groups

A portion of a draft letter from Jeffrey Clark is displayed as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol continues to reveal its findings of a year-long investigation, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Federal agents search Trump-era official’s home, subpoena GOP leaders

Authorities on Wednesday searched the Virginia home of Jeffrey Clark

Most Read