AP NEWS

Alaska school district buys hotel for student housing

March 18, 2019

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A rural Alaska school district has purchased a former hotel to allow students to take classes in the state’s largest city.

The Lower Yukon School District paid $2.7 million in February for the former Long House Alaskan Hotel in Anchorage, the Anchorage Daily News reported Sunday.

Officials say the partnership with the Anchorage School District will allow junior and senior high school students from 10 villages to stay and study for nine weeks at a time.

Students in the voluntary program will be able to take medical, electrical, aviation, hospitality and other courses at King Tech High School in Anchorage when the program begins in the fall.

Purchasing the 54-room hotel is a cost-effective way to provide high-quality education compared to investing in trade programs that would struggle to keep instructors in the remote region, District Superintendent Andrew Anderson said.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy, a Republican, has called for more than $300 million in cuts to kindergarten through grade 12 funding.

Under the plan, Anderson said the Lower Yukon district would lose $8 million, a quarter of its state funding.

But the district board decided to prioritize career and technical education by sticking with the Anchorage program, which he said was in the works before Dunleavy’s budget announcement.

“We’d have to lay off staff,” Anderson said. “So we certainly see the need to restructure the way we deliver our educational services to accommodate for those layoffs. Part of our restructuring involves maintaining this plan for our kids.”

A spokesman said the governor supports collaborative ideas like the Yukon-Anchorage initiative.

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Information from: Anchorage Daily News, http://www.adn.com