Kachemak Selo still waiting on state

  • By Kelly Sullivan
  • Monday, March 21, 2016 11:14pm
  • News

The staff and students at Kachemak Selo School are still waiting to hear whether there will be room in next year’s budget for a new building.

The K-12 replacement facility is sitting at the top of the Alaska Department of Early Education and Development FY17 construction grant list, and was placed on Gov. Bill Walker’s proposed FY17 capital budget, but hasn’t been addressed this session so far.

“The capital budget has not been discussed in committees as of yet,” said Elizabeth Nudelman, DEED’s School Finance and Facilities director. “I am not aware of any conversations or hypotheticals.”

Three separate buildings house 63 secondary and primary students currently enrolled at the only school situated in the Kachemak Selo Russian Old Believer community located roughly 30 miles outside Homer down a narrow, unpaved switch back.

A 2014 conditions survey, completed by Kenai Peninsula Borough Architect and Project Manager David May, documents a number safety hazards and buildings that have dramatically deteriorated.

If funded, the state would pay $10.9 million of the $17 million project, and the Kenai Peninsula Borough would pitch in the remaining $6.1 million. There are two propose sites for the 18,599-square-foot educational facility that would unify the instruction of all grade levels under one roof.

If it isn’t funded, there are no guarantees it will top the list next year.

“If there are no appropriations made from the school construction list for FY2017, then the projects on the current list do not roll forward to next year,” said Eric Fry, DEED’S information officer.

School districts will submit or resubmit projects they want considered for the FY18 list, Fry said. Without knowing if any old projects would not be resubmitted, or if new projects would turn up, there is no way to predict where projects on the current list would fall, he said.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District has not decided if it would reapply next year.

“We will wait to see what happens during this legislative session; then determine next steps when we learn what the legislature does,” said Pegge Erkeneff, school district spokesperson.

Reach Kelly Sullivan at kelly.sullivan@peninsulaclarion.com.

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