KPBSD

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education looked out at a sea of red in its meeting in Homer on Monday night. Over a hundred teachers and support staff, who are seeing red over unresolved contract negotiations, wore red to the meeting and spoke out about their concerns.

Negotiations for a contract that was supposed to go into effect this school year began in February but have yet to be resolved. The school district and associations representing teachers and support staff went through an unsuccessful round of mediation and now are moving to arbitration. Dave Brighton, president of the Kenai Peninsula Education Association, says it’s been about a decade since a round of negotiations finished on time and without needing outside adjudication.

“I don’t know why it is that every time we go to the negotiations table we end up going all the way through mediation and then arbitration,” Brighton said. “I can’t remember a contract that we’ve had that didn’t go through that. I’m asking you guys to encourage the school district to come to the negotiation table to bargain.”


Let’s get a little awkward, shall we, and discuss the birds and the bees. At least, the teaching of the birds and the bees, which has become a little more cumbersome since the passage of the Alaska Safe School Act. HB 156 went into effect in 2017 and requires school boards to review and approve outside presenters and materials used to teach sex ed, and grants parents the ability to opt their student out of any curriculum area or assessment.

Not all outside presenters and materials have to be approved by the school board. Historians, scientists, poets and so on, are still fine, only those teaching human reproduction. HB 156 had a controversial path into law. Some saw it as an attempt to limit sex ed, in a state where rates of sexually transmitted diseases and teen pregnancies rank among the highest in the nation. Others argued the additional scrutiny was a way to raise awareness and get parents and communities more involved in curriculum.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough’s school board had its yearly review of supplemental sex ed materials at its Aug. 6 meeting.


Students head back to class next Tuesday in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District. Let’s get ready with a little math.

At its Aug. 6 meeting, the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education approved its fiscal year 2019 budget, which necessitated shaving about $523,000 from expenditures.

Many of the line items represent vacant positions that will not be filled, with duties shifting onto other departments or personnel. This includes $115,500 for a purchasing supervisor, $29,000 in school administration and $120,000 for a district art specialist.

Several school board members voiced heartburn over the loss of the art position.


Facebook screenshot

  As the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District's academic year winds down, it's budget season is heating up. Superintendent Sean Dusek took to Facebook Tuesday night, as he does regularly to field questions about the district, and began with some comments about the district's budget picture.

KPBSD

On last week’s “Local Science” Friday during KDLL Spring Membership Drive, we heard about the technology the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District uses to keep everyone connected.

And that’s not an easy job - “everyone” includes not only students and teachers, but parents and administration and support staff, and last but not least, the general public.

On "Local Science" Friday we welcome the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District's Pegge Erkeneff, Eric Soderquist, and Jake Doth as we discuss the technology the district uses to in the central office, in the schools, and in the cloud to connect teachers with students, parents with educators, and administrators with the public.

KPBSD

Personalized Learning is more than a buzzword for the latest fad in public education. This week on the Kenai Conversation, KPBSD Director of Elementary and Secondary Education John Pothast and district Communications Liaison Pegge Erkeneff, tell us about how Personalized Learning is being rolled out in classrooms across the district and what the expectations are.

  The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District has been embracing high technology and social media wherever it can to connect with parents and residents this year. One way has been through the use of Facebook Live, which, just as it sounds, is a live, interactive conference on Facebook. As school district spokeswoman Pegge Erkeneff tells us, it brings administration together with the public. The next Facebook Live event will be March 22 from 7-7:30-p.m. on the KPBSD Facebook page.

There was another school shooting in America today (Tuesday). Two students in a Maryland high school were injured when their 17-year-old classmate opened fire with a handgun in a school hallway. It's just the latest in an increasing trend that has seen hundreds of thousands protest a lack of gun control nationwide.