The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District announced last week it will begin a series of public meetings to talk about various consolidation options around the district. One of those options is to bring 9th graders back into Soldotna High School.
SoHi has housed only grades 10-12 since it took on Skyview High School students back in 2014 when that facility switched to a middle school and Soldotna Prep was created. Outgoing Superintendent Sean Dusek says the district hasn’t made any decisions yet. It’s also looking for input from a survey sent out last week.
“Really it’s just all about starting the conversations, exploring options, trying to prepare for multiple budget funding scenarios that may come out of the state and also the borough. Our intent with the survey is to hear from communities, their thoughts and their opinions just like we’ve done with any potential reconfiguration or consolidation in the past.”
The district could lose more than $20 million under the governor’s proposed budget. That would lower the cap for how much the borough could fund and mayor Charlie Pierce has been firm about not wanting to fund the district beyond the cap. Other schools across the district are getting a look, too, like Chapman school in Anchor Point which serves about 130 students or the elementary school in Moose Pass, which serves about 20. Dusek says a capacity study last fall helped determine which schools should be considered.
“This will be an ongoing conversation. No decisions have been made, not even close. We are just trying to do our due diligence in this whole situation that really stems from the governor’s budget and the potential shortfall we would be experiencing. And also, just making sure that we have myriad options available depending on what our funding situation is.”
That funding situation, like every year, will remain a mystery until both the state and the borough have adopted their own budgets.
“Time is running short. We’re hoping the borough will decide here soon and then the state soon thereafter so we can make lots of different decisions so that we’re ready to go on August 20th.”
The meeting for SoHi and Soldotna Prep consolidation is Thursday night at six in the SoHi auditorium.