More than one-fifth of all district students enrolled in Connections

Of the district’s 7,947 total students, 1,772 — or 22.79% — were enrolled in the program as of Sept. 24.

More than one-fifth of all Kenai Peninsula Borough School District students are enrolled in Connections, the district’s home-school program, according to district enrollment numbers from Sept. 24.

Of the district’s 7,947 total students, 1,772 — or 22.79% — were enrolled in the program, which is about 962 more than the district projected, according to the Sept. 24 numbers.

The schools where district projections were more than 100 students off include K-Beach Elementary, which had 173 fewer students enrolled than what the district projected, Soldotna High School, which had 145 fewer and Nikiski North Star Elementary, which had 130 fewer.

Only four of the district’s 42 schools had enrollments larger than what the district projected: River City Academy had 16 more, Hope Elementary/High School had 11 more, Susan B. English had nine more and Tebughna Elementary/High had two more.

District Communications Director Pegge Erkeneff said that the counts are not the final official enrollment numbers, but rather a one-day snapshot in time that is provided for informational purposes to the school board.

Erkeneff said that as of Sept. 28, the percentage of district students enrolled in Connections dropped slightly, to 22.67%, with about 966 more students making use of the program than the district anticipated.

Enrollment numbers help the Alaska Legislature determine how much funding the district will receive. However, last month the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly voted to formally ask the state to use last year’s enrollment numbers due to fluctuating enrollment caused by COVID-19.

At their next meeting, the assembly will take up legislation that would allow for the construction of four communications towers that would expand internet access to rural parts of the state, potentially improving the remote-learning experience for students and district employees.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

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