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2 rural Kodiak schools might close, superintendent says

March 5, 2018

KODIAK, Alaska (AP) — Two of Kodiak’s rural schools will face closure if their enrollment numbers do not increase soon, superintendent Larry LeDoux said.

The Kodiak Island Borough School District schools in Karluk and Port Lions currently have eight and five students — respectively, the Kodiak Daily Mirror reported Friday.

LeDoux said that when a school falls below 10 students, it loses school site funding from the state, which is worth approximately $300,000.

Both Karluk and Chiniak have closed in years past. Danger Bay school closed due to low enrollment in the fall.

LeDoux said he does not recall a year in which two rural schools had to close concurrently.

“Rural communities are losing kids all over Alaska,” he said, citing economic concerns and a lack of jobs in villages statewide.

In the event of a closure, the school district has devised ways to educate students. Training and resources are provided to parents who intend to homeschool, and a plan for internet access is made so that students can take courses through AKTeach, an online correspondence program. And in many, though not all, cases, the school building is utilized by the community both for educational purposes and general use.

LeDoux said he hopes the buildings will remain open, which will require a partnership between the borough and tribal organizations.

“The village uses the school for community meeting places, they use the gym. If we close that up they lose something that’s really important,” he said.

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Information from: Kodiak (Alaska) Daily Mirror, http://www.kodiakdailymirror.com

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