Juneau's new high school is about 50 students short of its target enrollment, but it won't affect the school's curriculum, according to a school official.
Superintendent Peggy Cowan said at Tuesday's Juneau School Board meeting that 424 students have enrolled at Thunder Mountain High School, the $60 million Mendenhall Valley school slated to open when the school year starts on Sept. 2.
Enrollment numbers affect the number of teachers that may be at the school. Cowan said the district had shifted one full-time teacher position and some part-time positions from TMHS to Juneau-Douglas High School. She said the move will not affect TMHS' curriculum and the school will have enough teachers to accommodate the current enrollment numbers and "offer the programs they had already designed."
The student-to-teacher ratio at the high school level in Juneau is one teacher for about 25 students.
Cowan said there are 17 additional students who have signaled their intent to enroll at TMHS, and she expects more students to sign up before the school year starts. She said she expects about 10 currently enrolled students not to attend the school.
The district had planned for 500 regular students to attend the school, but lowered the number to 475 after most eligible students indicated they preferred to attend the district's other high school, Juneau-Douglas High School.
When given the choice back in February, only about 280 students originally chose to attend TMHS.
Since then, the district has been trying to attract more students to the school, including running advertisements and hosting a pizza and ice cream event for students.
It also placed about 100 students who failed to choose between the district's two high schools at TMHS. New students to the district, except those who live in certain outlying areas or walking distance to JDHS, also have been placed at TMHS.
The new high school will house ninth-, 10th-, and 11th-grade students and will divide students into small learning groups.
There will be a ribbon cutting ceremony and public tours of the new high school on Aug. 26.
• Contact reporter Alan Suderman at 523-2268 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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