The Ketchikan School Board met in regular session Wednesday to discuss changes for the 2019-2020 school year.
During citizen remarks, Ketchikan High School student Caity Pearson spoke against early release days on Wednesdays. She said it wouldn’t be beneficial for students, especially on Wednesdays, because advisory is held on that day.
Advisory is a weekly period of time when teachers meet with groups of students for the purpose of advising them on social and academic concerns.
Pearson said having early release days on an already shortened day will result in students learning less. She is also concerned for students who would have to go home for an hour before returning to complete extracurricular activities, such as sports, as well as students who don’t have access to transportation.
“Same with the Wi-Fi, if they have a school project to finish and they don’t have Wi-Fi at home, they’d have to go back home and then come back at three—about the time when the training will end,” said Pearson. “This can be difficult for many students who don’t have a car or Wi-Fi at their house. For the younger students, it may be hard to find an after-school program, and they can’t all just go to the library or the rec center unattended.”
Ketchikan Public Library Director Pat Tully said the library wouldn’t be able to help with after-school care on early release days due to their policy on unaccompanied children.
“Though we are very happy to be involved in discussions about how this will work, the public library doesn’t have the resources,” said Tully. “We don’t have the staff or the training or the space, frankly, to supervise unaccompanied children or to act as substitute care givers.”
Also Wednesday, the board approved revisions to board policies related to public complaints, part of an ongoing effort to review and update district policies. Approved were revised board policies concerning the schools, school personnel, instructional materials, and discrimination. A revision of these policies will return to the school board at a later meeting.
The board also approved FY19 budget transfers, a copier contract with the Tongass Business Center, and the Edgenuity contract renewal. The digital career academy renewal for 2019-2020 also includes a $5,000 credit.
An increase in school lunch prices also were approved. The board said they are required by federal rules through the National School Board Lunch Program to increase lunch by 10 cents.