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

A promotional graphic for Zach’s Fight (Facebook)
Zach’s Fight fundraiser to benefit Kenai athlete during Tuesday basketball

A fundraiser will be held for a sophomore diagnosed with leukemia.

The deadline for the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend, which comes from the fund managed by the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation, is coming up fast, landing on March 31, 2023. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)
2023 PFD filing available, ends March 31

Applications can be filed online through myAlaska, or by visiting pfd.alaska.gov

Seward Middle School students ride the chair lift at Alyeska Resort in Girdwood, Alaska, on Jan. 26, 2023. (Photo courtesy Myla Lijemark)
Hitting the slopes

Seward Middle School students get outside and onto the side of a mountain

Kachemak Emergency Services logo.
Lawsuit: Borough retaliated against harassment complaint

The suit says the borough violated the “covenant of good faith and fair dealing” and caused “severe emotional distress”

Flowers bloom at Soldotna City Hall on Wednesday, June 24, 2021, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna OKs bumps to city water, sewer rates

The changes are effective July 1

Triumvirate Theatre President Joe Rizzo testifies before the Kenai Planning & Zoning Commission on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai OKs permit for new Triumvirate playhouse

The playhouse design describes a $4.7 million facility that is two stories with an audience capacity of 150 people

Kenai City Council member Alex Douthit testifies in support of legislation allowing chickens on some city lots during a meeting of the Kenai Planning & Zoning Commission on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai planning group gives conditional thumbs-up to chicken ordinance

The legislation would allow Kenai residents to keep up to 12 chicken hens on certain lots

Most Read