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Kodiak district approves closure plan for rural school

October 1, 2018

KODIAK, Alaska (AP) — A rural public school on Kodiak Island will close in November unless it can enroll at least three more students, officials said.

The board of the Kodiak Island Borough School District approved a closure plan last week for Karluk School that currently has seven students enrolled, the Kodiak Daily Mirror reported .

The school in the Alaska Native village of Karluk, which has a population of about 40, needs at least 10 students to stay open. Schools with fewer than 10 students lose school site funding from the state.

Karluk residents said they are in talks with families who might bump up the enrollment number to 10.

“We’ve been working with the community to give them as much time as possible to find the ten students to keep the school open,” district Superintendent Larry LeDoux said. “Some of the folk that they thought would be coming in have declined, but they’re still hopeful.”

Should the school close, the district is “prepared to hire a three-hour per day aide position to assist in home school tutoring” for the Karluk students, according to the closure plan. A similar plan was drafted for the Larsen Bay school, which the board voted to close earlier in September.

The plans for both schools require approval from the state Department of Education and Early Development.

In both Larsen Bay and Karluk, there is a “real sense of loss” about the schools, board member Duncan Fields said. Residents are thankful for the district’s effort to support the remaining students and the community, he said.

“I really, really hope Karluk finds another family to move there,” Fields said. “Just shutting down that building and reopening that building in a year or two can be expensive and difficult for the borough, as well as the district.”

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

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