The Kodiak Island Borough School District Board of Education touched on school issues across the island, from special education to the recent lockdown, at its regular meeting last night.
During his report, school district superintendent Larry LeDoux said student enrollment is down overall, which also means a loss in funds.
“This budget had a $1.9 million dollar cut in the beginning, and because of enrollment declines or where students are in enrollment, we were originally looking at another cut of $1.8 [million dollars]. Now it’s approximately about $800,000 dollars.”
He said the cuts are less drastic than originally predicted, but the district is “still in the hole.”
Earlier in the year, the administration spoke about its struggle to fill several positions within special education. Last night, LeDoux said the special education preschool is seeing a spike in students.
“And because of the growth we may be adding another section and having to hire another teacher, depending on where it’s going to go.”
LeDoux also mentioned the school lockdown.
A couple of weeks ago, the Kodiak Police Department received a report of a threat and temporarily closed the city high school, middle school, and surrounding public buildings.
According to KPD, a substitute teacher had allegedly overhead a student threaten to shoot up the school. KPD eventually tracked down the source of the comment and determined there was no threat. At the same time, some parents turned to Facebook to express frustration that they didn’t receive a thorough explanation of what was happening as it unfolded.
LeDoux said the school district learned a lot from the incident and that they need more training.
“We need to upgrade our ability to communicate, command, and control and the notification of other facilities. We need to be able to communicate with our teachers when they’re in a classroom and our students. We need to understand that, because of smartphones, anything that happens goes out in real time.”
Students were able to text their family members during the lockdown to give them some idea of what was happening inside the school walls.
LeDoux also credited students for handling the situation well, and said the middle school and high school students were familiar with the process due to prior safety training.