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Port Lions teacher presents maintenance needs to KIBSD Board of Education

Bryan Venua

The head teacher in Port Lions urged the Kodiak Island Borough School District to address several maintenance issues during the district’s Board of Education meeting on Jan. 22.

The Port Lions school has just two teachers – Shayla Demming handles the primary education and her partner, Ken Stockard, handles secondary education alongside a secretary/teacher’s aide.

Demming said they currently serve about 19 students between them.

Demming said there’s 8 students in secondary education and 11 in primary, however she said there are rumors they may have up to six new elementary-aged children joining them later this semester.

She said while teaching the curriculum has been going well, she’s concerned about the condition of the school. She said one of the staff’s immediate concerns is the lack of hot water in the showers.

“Our showers don’t have hot water,” Demming said. “Both sinks do in the bathrooms, but the showers do not and so maintenance is aware of that and they’re going to try and fix that before May.”

The school showers are primarily used by visiting students or maintenance staff.

Demming said the staff are also concerned about the Port Lions school’s flooring – old laminate that has been “ripping and cracking.”

“About every day, probably twice or three times a day, we’ll see someone trip – especially me when I’m not looking – we slide across that and trip on it so it’s kind of becoming a safety hazard,” she said.

She ended the maintenance section of her presentation by describing the condition of the school’s exterior as rotting in some sections and in need of repainting.

One of the longstanding maintenance concerns however, is handling the remnants of a colony of bats living in the school building’s attic.

Peggy Azuyak is the district’s principal of rural schools. She said the bats have already left the school and maintenance just needs to finish sealing all areas of the building to prevent future infestations.

“We did an air quality study in the summer [2023] in order to make sure that it’s not something that would affect our students or our staff in the building, but it was just to get a headstart on mitigation work and then they’ll do more work in the spring [2024] to really make it bat proof,” she said.

Azuyak said staff have regular upkeep plans to ensure the Port Lions facility stays bat-free for the foreseeable future. The district has plans to dispatch maintenance staff to the rural school in the coming months.

The school district plans to present an initial draft of its budget at its next meeting on Feb. 5.

Demming included some photos of the school’s exterior in her presentation. (KIBSD)
Bryan Venua
Demming included some photos of the school’s exterior in her presentation. (KIBSD)