Egegik school to close, says LPSD

Aug 14, 2015

Citing low, or perhaps no, numbers of students intending to enroll, the School Board voted to not to open the school this fall.

Audio transcript from KDLG News:

The Lake and Peninsula School District announced it will be closing the school in Egegik this year.  Superintendent Ty Mase says it’s never an easy thing to do, but it was clear the enrollment would be below the 10 student threshold required by the state for funding. Mase says the district wasn’t sure there were going to be any students in Egegik this year:

"Each spring we do intent-to-enroll forms. This spring we didn't have any turned in for Egegik. Right now there's about six school-age children in the village. But we don't have enrollment forms, and from what we can tell we're far from the minimum of ten students needed to open the school."

The school board voted in its meeting this week not to open Egegik this fall. The state doesn’t technically close a school that falls below ten students, but it does scale back and eventually cut off the funding. Mase says Egegik typically employs two teachers, but this spring no contracts were signed based on the likelihood the school wouldn’t be opened. Now the district will sort out some options for the school age children in town:

"We are in the process of seeing what their intentions are, how we can support those children, what kind of education we can setup for them for this coming school year. We'll find out more in the coming weeks."

Mase says having to make the decision to close a school is one of the hardest decisions the school board and administration has to make, knowing what that might mean for the future of the village:

"It's never a fun process, and it weighs heavily on all our minds. Usually when a school closes, the village starts to crumble, and people leave for other opportunities and to get their children in other schools. One of our celebrations in the last couple years was reopening the Chignik Bay school. That doesn't happen often, but Chignik Bay rallied, they got their school doors open, we're going into the second year with solid numbers there. We're hopeful for Egegik as well."

Mase says the district will keep the heat on at the school, and invest in some infrastructure for the winter, with hopes that they can open the doors in Egegik again by next August.