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Seventh-grader pleads for action on deteriorating school

At Tuesday night's (Oct. 31) Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meeting, a 7th-grader from Kachemak Selo urged the borough to do something about her deteriorating school.

We already have a wonderful staff. All we need is a safe school and opportunities to learn. - Zoya Murachev

  "Hello everyone and good evening. I am Zoya Murachev, I am a seventh grader in Kachemak Selo School. I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak tonight. We are in desperate need for a new school. Our problems have increased and gotten worse. There are doors that can't close any more because of the buildings that are leaning to one side more and more every day. Our garage door has 2x4 chunks in the gaps to keep the door stable. If not for them, the door would have collapsed a long time ago. Our walls are coming apart little by little. There are gaps in our ceiling where you can see the sky through them," she said to the assembly.

Murachev also detailed problems such as leaks and mold on walls.

"No matter how hard we try to sustain the buildings, they seem to worsen."

Having addressed the Assembly before, and perhaps sensing the slow pace of government, Murachev pleaded for action not just for her generation.

"I have the most adorable little baby brother and I would like to see him go to a safe and profound school, unlike the one I attend. We already have a wonderful staff. All we need is a safe school and opportunities to learn," she said. "Thank you for your time and I hope you take this concept into consideration because it is no laughing matter. If you have any questions, I would be more than happy to answer them."

There were no questions from the assembly, but Homer Assemblyman Willy Dunne did have some words of encouragement, saying money has been found for the project.

"The State Legislature and the Governor did appropriate money," Dunne said. "So I know you have worked with Mayor Navarre and his staff over the past year-and-a-half or so, and as you're aware we have a new mayor coming in next week, and so I hope you will have a chance to talk with the incoming mayor and let him know the situation there, and that there is a certain amount of money sitting there in an account, waiting for a way that we can work with the village and work with the Borough to help you out down there."

The money Assemblyman Dunne mentioned was an appropriation of around $10 million in the Fiscal Year 2017 state capital budget passed by the Legislature in 2016. The State Office of Management and Budget website says the project's grant and contract documents are in process, and a new K-12 Kachemak Selo School should be completed by the summer of 2021.

That'd be just in time for Zoya Murachev's junior year.