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Schoenbar/White Cliff Shuffle Approved By School Board
By Sharon Lint


January 27, 2005

Ketchikan, Alaska - The Ketchikan School Board approved motions regarding the proposed moves for both White Cliff and Schoenbar students with little opposition or discussion in Wednesday night's meeting.

Only one concerned parent attended to speak as to these highly publicized events. Paul Potter asked the Board to allow time for more consideration before approving the seventh- and eighth-grade move into Schoenbar Middle School, stating that he believed the decision was premature. He cited overcrowded classroom areas for the White Cliff students within Kayhi as one of his main concerns and stated that he believed the better option would be to keep the eighth-grade classes at the high school and to instead allow White Cliff students into Schoenbar until their own school at Fawn Mountain Elementary - now in an early construction phase - is completed in December 2005.

Although Mike Harpold officially recognized Potter's comments prior to the vote, the motion to move grades 7 and 8 into Schoenbar still passed unanimously after Superintendent Harry E. Martin assured all that crowded classes at Kayhi would not be an issue for the White Cliff students.

In the following motion to approve White Cliff grades K-6 moving into Kayhi, Board Member Keith Smith stood alone in his dissenting vote. Speaking to his reservations, Smith said, "I don't think that this motion is at all obvious to me as the best choice. I think it is premature for us to approve [it]" explaining, "there is another school involved and that is Kayhi. We [have] never heard from Kayhi how its programs are being impacted by having a whole other school in it."

With both motions approved, planning will begin as to the specifics of moving the seventh- and eighth-graders into Schoenbar Middle School and for moving White Cliff students into Ketchikan High School in the fall of 2005, with the space made available after the eighth-graders move out of Kayhi.


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