Fawn Mountain Elementary School. (KRBD file photo)

Teachers returned to Ketchikan’s classrooms this week to prepare for the start of the fall semester. On Wednesday, Ketchikan’s school board will return to a familiar question — where teachers will actually spend the year teaching when classes start on September 8

Ketchikan’s school board agreed in principle earlier this month to spread students between regular school buildings and off-site locations. Now, the school board will discuss whether to firm up its commitment to the off-campus classrooms. It’ll consider putting as much as $130,000 towards leasing four local churches.

The churches — the district calls them “annexes” — are intended to allow students some extra space to spread out to reduce their chance of spreading the coronavirus.

Superintendent Beth Lougee has said she expects to move entire grade levels from elementary schools to the off-campus sites — teachers, students and support staff. Students likely wouldn’t regularly move between leased annexes and their regular school.

So who would go where? Well, it’s not quite clear yet — the district hasn’t said which grade levels would be relocated, and it’ll likely differ from school to school — but here’s the general idea:

  • Some students would move from Houghtaling Elementary to the Ketchikan Church of the Nazarene on Second Avenue.
  • Some Fawn Mountain students would be moved to South Tongass Alliance Church, about a block or so from the school.
  • Some students at Tongass School of Arts and Sciences would move to First Assembly of God on Fairview Avenue.
  • Some Ketchikan Charter School students would be relocated to Holy Name Catholic Church and School on Jackson Street.

But that’s only four of the district’s seven schools — what about the others?

District officials say Point Higgins Elementary and Schoenbar Middle School are big enough to spread students and teachers out without extra sites. Revilla Alternative School is repurposing some on-site spaces.

Ketchikan High School will have some extra space within their own building as well — the district’s head office is moving offsite to free up classrooms. Plus, district officials say the high school is moving to a block schedule to cut down student movement during passing periods and keep students in consistent groups.

Lunch price hike & milk contract

In other business, Ketchikan’s school board will consider a 10-cent price hike for school lunches. The federally-mandated bump would bring the cost of an elementary school and middle school lunch to $3.60, or $3.85 for high-schoolers.

And, finally, the board will discuss a new contract with Alaskan & Proud Market for hundreds of thousands of half-pint containers of milk. The district’s prior supplier, Tatsuda’s IGA, closed after a landslide crushed parts of the store this winter.

A&P was the only bidder on the three-year contract, and it promises to supply milk at $0.68 per half-pint carton — $0.09 more than the prior contract with Tatsuda’s. A&P attributes the 15% bump to higher freight prices. District officials recommend approving the deal.

Ketchikan’s school board meets at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the White Cliff Building on First Avenue. It’s also broadcast on the borough’s website and local cable channels. Members of the public can weigh in at the beginning and end of the meeting.