Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion Kim McMilin coaxes Andrew Thompson, 5, into putting his face into the water and blowing bubbles Tuesday Feb. 5, 2013 at the Skyview High School pool in Soldotna, Alaska. Thompson and about 20 other children were in the water during the February session of their Swim America swimming lessons.

Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion Kim McMilin coaxes Andrew Thompson, 5, into putting his face into the water and blowing bubbles Tuesday Feb. 5, 2013 at the Skyview High School pool in Soldotna, Alaska. Thompson and about 20 other children were in the water during the February session of their Swim America swimming lessons.

School district turns to city, hospital for financial support for pool

  • Tuesday, March 25, 2014 10:53pm
  • News

As the month of April approaches, so does the next Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education meeting where members will have to approve a budget for the 2014-2015 school year.

The district is facing a $4.5 million funding gap between revenues and expenditures. In addressing that shortfall, the board did not include money for the Skyview High School pool — $180,000 — in the budget.

More than a dozen members of the community spoke at the board’s Feb. 3 meeting about the future of the pool with most of them voicing their desire to see it stay open. One of the common reasons pool proponents want the facility to remain open is because they view it as a valuable community resource.

At the Feb. 26 Soldotna City Council meeting, Mayor Nels Anderson informed the council the KPBSD administration asked if the city would consider contributing $50,000 to keep the pool open for a year.

While it’s not an agenda item for tonight’s council meeting, Anderson said he plans to talk about the pool in his Mayor’s Report.

“Basically what we will do is put that in as a budget item for next year, assuming that the council members don’t object to it,” Anderson said. “And if they object to it then we’ll bring it up to a formal vote, otherwise we’ll just stick it in as a budget item.”

Anderson said he hopes with the city’s contribution, residents will be able use the pool at no cost when it is available for free swim. He said he sees the pool as a community resource and many residents use the pool for physical therapy and other health reasons.

“There’s a lot of ability to use it for other things and have community use it for learn to swim and those sorts of things,” he said. “And it’s just a valuable resource, in my opinion, as a public service thing for the whole community and the whole area — not just the City of Soldotna.”

Community members are also showing their support to keep the facility open by signing a petition at Sweeney’s Clothing in Soldotna. Owner Mike Sweeney presented the board with more than 200 signatures at its March 3 meeting. He said the petition, which has been available at his store for more than a month, has more than 500 signatures total.

“There’s a lot of people that are concerned and don’t want to see this pool end,” Sweeney said. “There’s a good chance that it might be saved, but we don’t know what direction they’re going to go.”

Superintendent Dr. Steve Atwater said that the community has shown a lot of support for keeping the pool open. However, he said the pool’s primary function is to serve students, not the community.

He said user fees only cover costs for the lifeguard and chemicals. Heating the pool is a big expense.

“It’s not a matter of increasing the user fee by a dollar to make ends meet,” he said. “… It’s hard for the public to understand that because they feel that, if they spent five bucks to swim there, that should cover it, but really it doesn’t.”

Atwater said administration has also approached Central Peninsula Hospital about contributing to keeping the pool open.

Hospital CEO Rick Davis did not immediately return phone calls from the Clarion about where CPH is in its consideration of putting up money for the facility.

Atwater said the district didn’t ask for a specific amount from either agency, but if one of both of them commit to providing some funding it could lead to changes in how the pool is operated.

“It could well lead to designated time being reserved for a specific group,” Atwater said. “I know the hospital is interested in physical therapy use. And it maybe that there’s a dedicated time for physical therapy at the pool as a result of the financial support.”

Atwater said the district needs to know each agency’s decision by next week to better determine what the viable options are for the pool as April 14 — when the board must pass a budget — closes in.

“We’re in a period of reducing expenditures,” he said. “We’re cutting things so it’s hard to say, ‘Well, just cut two teachers and keep the Skyview pool open instead.’ That’s what makes it so hard, especially when we have a pool two miles away at (Soldotna High School).”

Kaylee Osowski can be reached at

More in News

A moose is photographed in Kalifornsky, Alaska, in July 2020. (Peninsula Clarion file)
Illegal moose harvest down from past 5 years

The large majority of moose this year were harvested from North and South Kasilof River areas.

Renee Behymer and Katelyn Behymer (right) of Anchorage win this week’s vaccine lottery college scholarship sweepstakes. (Photo provided)
Dillingham and Anchorage residents win 6th vaccine lottery

“Get it done,” one winner said. “Protect us all, protect our elders and our grandchildren.”

Kenai Vice Mayor and council member Bob Molloy (center), council member Jim Glendening (right), council member Victoria Askin (far right), and council member Henry Knackstedt (far left) participate in a work session discussing the overhaul of Kenai election codes on Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska.
Kenai City Council gives sendoffs, certifies election results

Both council members-elect — Deborah Sounart and James Baisden — attended Wednesday.

This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. (CDC)
COVID is No. 3 underlying cause of death among Alaskans so far this year

The virus accounted for about 7.5% of all underlying causes of death after a review of death certificates.

Rep. David Eastman, R-Wasilla, speaks on the floor of the Alaska House of Representatives during a floor debate on Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021, over an appropriations bill during the Legislature’s third special session of the summer. Multiple organizations reported on Wednesday that Eastman is a lifetime member of the far-right organization the Oath Keepers. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Data leak shows state rep is member of far-right organization

Wasilla area lawmaker said he joined when Oath Keepers first started.

Christine Hutchison, who lives in Kenai and also serves on the Kenai Harbor Commission, testifies in support of the use of alternative treatments for COVID-19 during a meeting of the Kenai City Council on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Medical liberty’ petition brought to Kenai City Council

Some members of the public and Kenai City Council spoke against health mandates and in support of alternative treatments for COVID-19

Amber Kraxberger-Linson, a member of Trout Unlimited and streamwatch coordinator for the Chugach National Forest, works in the field in this undated photo. Kraxberger-Linson will be discussing at the Saturday, Oct. 23 International Fly Fishing Film Festival the organization’s educational programming for next summer. (Photo provided by Trout Unlimited)
Out on the water — and on the screen

Trout Unlimited to host fly fishing film festival Saturday.

This screen capture from surveillance footage released by the Anchorage Police Department shows a masked man vandalizing the Alaska Jewish Museum in Anchorage in May. (Courtesy photo / APD)
Museums statewide condemn antisemitic vandalism

Two incidents, one in May, one in September, have marred the museum this year.

Three speech language pathologists with the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District were recognized for excellence during the Alaska Speech-Language-Hearing Association last month. (Kenai Peninsula Borough School District)
Peninsula speech language therapists awarded for excellence

“I was very honored to be recognized by my peers and colleagues,” Evans said in an interview with the Clarion.

Most Read