Education

Sens. Löki Tobin, D-Anchorage, right, who chairs the Senate Education Committee, and Bert Stedman, R-Sitka, co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee, discuss a bill proposing a nearly 17% increase in per-student education funding Wednesday at the Alaska State Capitol. (Mark Sabbatini /Juneau Empire)

State Senate bill would bump per-student funding amount by $1,000

If approved, the legislation would bump state education funding by more than $257 million

 

The logo for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is displayed inside the George A. Navarre Borough Admin Building on Thursday, July 22, 2021, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Peninsula voices join state debate over school funding

Lawmakers heard pleas from education leaders around Alaska to increase the state’s base student allocation

 

Soldotna Elementary School Principal Dr. Austin Stevenson walks amid natural gas pipes anchored to the outside of school on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Borough to break up $65.5 million school maintenance bond

District leaders have long tried to draw attention to the problem of deferred maintenance within KPBSD

 

Mountain View Elementary School teacher Callie Giordano demonstrates with students “word building” with practices from the University of Florida Literacy Institute during a board of education meeting on Monday, Dec. 5, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Mountain View students demo literacy curriculum at school board meeting

Principal Karl Kircher said the Alaska Reads Act is “foremost” on the minds of the school community

Mountain View Elementary School teacher Callie Giordano demonstrates with students “word building” with practices from the University of Florida Literacy Institute during a board of education meeting on Monday, Dec. 5, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
A mock-up of an A-Frame property that would be located across the street from the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies Wynn Nature Center and used by the Homer Forest Charter School shows places for classroom yurts, a dormitory and kitchen, a parking area with bus parking and staff housing. The configuration was presented Monday, Dec. 5, 2022, to the Kenai Peninsula Borough School Board of Education. (Via Homer Forest Charter School presentation to school board)

Efforts to open K-8 nature school in Homer delayed

Charter organizers proposed changing the school’s opening date from 2023 to 2024

A mock-up of an A-Frame property that would be located across the street from the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies Wynn Nature Center and used by the Homer Forest Charter School shows places for classroom yurts, a dormitory and kitchen, a parking area with bus parking and staff housing. The configuration was presented Monday, Dec. 5, 2022, to the Kenai Peninsula Borough School Board of Education. (Via Homer Forest Charter School presentation to school board)
AK STAR testing results and materials are displayed on a table at the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District office on Monday, Nov. 14, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Most AK students not proficient in math, reading, new assessment finds

The first set of AK STAR results were published by the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development last week

AK STAR testing results and materials are displayed on a table at the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District office on Monday, Nov. 14, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Principal Denise Kelly helps Grecia Martinez Sandstrom, second grade, dispose of lunch materials at Sterling Elementary School on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022, in Sterling, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

‘It takes just that one person’

Sterling Elementary principal spearheads zero-waste program in lunchtime cafeteria

Principal Denise Kelly helps Grecia Martinez Sandstrom, second grade, dispose of lunch materials at Sterling Elementary School on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022, in Sterling, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Consular Masaru Aniya bestows Yasuko Lehtinen with the Foreign Minister Commendation on Friday, Oct. 28, 2022, at Kenai Peninsula College in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Friendship, goodwill and cultural understanding

KPC professor honored for fostering relationship between Kenai Peninsula and Japan

Consular Masaru Aniya bestows Yasuko Lehtinen with the Foreign Minister Commendation on Friday, Oct. 28, 2022, at Kenai Peninsula College in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Dr. Beverley Romanin attends her first meeting as the representative for the Board of Education’s Sterling/Funny River district on Monday, Oct. 3, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Dr. Beverley Romanin attends her first meeting as the representative for the Board of Education’s Sterling/Funny River district on Monday, Oct. 3, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Efrosinia Yakunin, a Nikolaevsk parent, testifies in support of a charter school for the area during a board of education meeting on Monday, Oct. 3, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

2 groups pursue peninsula charter school options

There are currently four charter schools operating as part of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District

Efrosinia Yakunin, a Nikolaevsk parent, testifies in support of a charter school for the area during a board of education meeting on Monday, Oct. 3, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Cars line up ahead of dismissal at Mountain View Elementary School on Thursday, September 29, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. A bond package up for consideration by Kenai Peninsula Borough voters on Oct. 4 would fund improvements to the school’s traffic flow. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

‘Critical needs’: Parking lot problems

Lack of space for pickup and drop-offs creates traffic jam at elementary school

Cars line up ahead of dismissal at Mountain View Elementary School on Thursday, September 29, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. A bond package up for consideration by Kenai Peninsula Borough voters on Oct. 4 would fund improvements to the school’s traffic flow. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna Elementary School Principal Dr. Austin Stevenson points out elements of the school building on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna Elementary School Principal Dr. Austin Stevenson points out elements of the school building on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Principal Sarge Truesdell looks at cracked siding outside of Soldotna High School on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. The siding is one of several projects in a bond package Kenai Peninsula voters will consider during the Oct. 4 municipal election. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Principal Sarge Truesdell looks at cracked siding outside of Soldotna High School on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. The siding is one of several projects in a bond package Kenai Peninsula voters will consider during the Oct. 4 municipal election. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai Middle School Principal Vaughn Dosko gestures toward a cart used to provide school lunch services on Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai Middle School Principal Vaughn Dosko gestures toward a cart used to provide school lunch services on Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna Montessori Charter School Principal John DeVolld explains Montessori materials in a classroom at Soldotna Montessori Charter School on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

‘Critical needs’: Soldotna Montessori maxes out

The relocation of Soldotna Montessori is included in a bond package on the Oct. 4 municipal election ballot

Soldotna Montessori Charter School Principal John DeVolld explains Montessori materials in a classroom at Soldotna Montessori Charter School on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Nikiski Middle/High School Principal Shane Bostic stands near a track and field long jump sand pit on Monday, Sept. 19, 2022, in Nikiski, Alaska. The track is one of several projects in a bond package Kenai Peninsula voters will consider during the Oct. 4 municipal election next month. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Nikiski Middle/High School Principal Shane Bostic stands near a track and field long jump sand pit on Monday, Sept. 19, 2022, in Nikiski, Alaska. The track is one of several projects in a bond package Kenai Peninsula voters will consider during the Oct. 4 municipal election next month. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Members of United Academics - American Association of University Professors/American Federation of Teachers Local 4996 gathered on the steps of the Alaska State Capitol on Wednesday, June 22, 2022, to call on University of Alaska officials to agree to a negotiated contract. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)

After close to a year of negotiations, university, faculty union still at odds

The two sides disagree over what contract will be in effect until a new agreement is reached

Members of United Academics - American Association of University Professors/American Federation of Teachers Local 4996 gathered on the steps of the Alaska State Capitol on Wednesday, June 22, 2022, to call on University of Alaska officials to agree to a negotiated contract. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
A classroom at Kenai Middle School is photographed on Friday, Jan. 8 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Weeks from restarting, schools across Alaska are struggling to find teachers

District, state solutions face hurdles with little time to spare

A classroom at Kenai Middle School is photographed on Friday, Jan. 8 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Clarion file photo

Mat-Su schools’ ban on transgender girl athletes raises concern for ACLU, may violate federal law

Multiple federal agencies affirm rights of transgender people

Clarion file photo
A classroom is seen at Kenai Middle School on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Can public funds be used for private school classes? Education department isn’t sure

‘Any effort to divert public funds to private schools is a blatantly unconstitutional act’ says opponent to the practice

A classroom is seen at Kenai Middle School on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)