Parents hear ASD's short-term plans for damaged Eagle River schools
The Anchorage School District says it's working toward the best solution for displaced students, parents and teachers from the two schools badly damaged from the Nov. 30 earthquake.
Eagle River Elementary and Gruening Middle School are both closed and students from those schools have been moved to other nearby schools.
After multiple meetings and an online survey of more than 2,000 people, the school district found the majority of students and parents are in favor of Gruening Middle School students staying and attending Chugiak High School.
ASD superintendent Deena Bishop says this process helps everyone have a say.
"Everybody has ideas," Bishop said. "And you know, I just felt it was a good process because we had so much feedback. So we were able to use the surveys though to narrow down our choices and our recommendations for the work."
On both Wednesday and Thursday, the school district had its latest meetings to talk about the new plans with parents. Next steps include drawing new elementary school boundaries to accommodate displaced Eagle River Elementary School students and keeping Gruening Middle School students at Chugiak High.
Students who are within the Eagle River Elementary zone will be divided into Homestead or Birchwood ABC.
At Thursday's meeting, parents were worried about transportation to the different schools, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson being included in the boundary, and the long-term plan.
Parent Tiffany Lund said she knew the district was waiting on funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), but wanted to know if school officials had plans to find a long-term solution before the next school year.
The meetings only covered the short-term plan, but the administration says a long-term solution is in the works and that this is the first step in finding the best solution for everyone.
Kelly Forestal praised the district for its responsiveness during this time of upheaval for families.
"You guys have been amazing through this whole process, and I say that as a parent of three displaced children, that things moved quick and they were kept with their teachers," Forestal said.
In previous meetings, parents expressed concerns about school status and and teacher jobs.
The district say its unknown if the schools will be used again. Bishop says it depends on funding from FEMA and the engineering reports that will be done in March. She says she is hopeful that the two schools can be rebuilt.
When it comes to the teachers, Bishop said that no full-time positions will be cut, but some teachers will have to move to different schools.
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