School Board carries on work on Alyeska bid

Posted: Wednesday, October 22, 2003

The Juneau School Board, meeting Tuesday for the first time with its four new members, unanimously directed the administration to continue to prepare a bid to run the statewide correspondence school.

The state plans to close Alyeska Central School at the end of June and has invited Alaska school districts to submit bids to run it.

The deadline to submit bids is Nov. 14. State Department of Education officials said they would not disclose how many bids the agency has received so far.

The Juneau School Board plans to vote at its Nov. 4 meeting on whether to submit a bid. Meanwhile, the board and the Juneau Assembly may meet on Oct. 29 to discuss the proposal and other issues, Superintendent Peggy Cowan said.

Some parents and staff at Alyeska have applied to four districts to be accepted as a charter school. The districts then would submit the charter plan as their bid.

The Yukon-Koyukuk School District has accepted Alyeska's application and will bid to run the school, its officials have said. Juneau is considering doing the same. The other two districts, Wrangell and Delta-Greely, haven't decided, Alyeska staff said.

Alyeska, which now has the equivalent of 540 full-time students, employs about 25 people in Juneau. Nearly a fifth of its students are from Juneau, as well.

If the Juneau School District runs Alyeska, the teachers unions for Alyeska and the district will have to merge, said Alyeska teacher Cecilia Miller. Among the issues are where to place Alyeska's teachers on the salary schedule, what seniority they would have when layoffs are considered, and what their rights would be to transfer to other schools when there are openings.

The Alyeska staff also would have to work out how to run the school 12 months a year, which parents have come to expect, under the Juneau School District's 182-day teachers contract.

Kevin Hamrick, a negotiator for the Juneau Education Association, the teachers union in the Juneau School District, said the issues could be worked out and Alyeska would be beneficial to the district.

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