Local News

WPS hopes to capture an AMSEA grant

Wrangell Public School officials are applying for a grant with the Alaska Marine Safety Education Association.

If the district receives funds from AMSEA, the money will be put toward training and certifying the two local marine safety instructors. Wrangell Middle/High School Principal Monty Buness said they could attend training in Seward this spring, or wait for next fall to train in Sitka.

The school district would use the money to certify its marine safety instructors.

“And then they can come back and do those classes and the life-skills class in the high school and the class in the middle school. And also lend their skills to the community so we don’t have to bring in so many people when they want to do a class like that. I think it’s going to be a real big deal,” he said.

Buness is a marine safety instructor as well. He said that gives the school district and community an advantage when it comes to training opportunities.

“The fact that I’m on their books as a marine safety instructor, we have access to all the AMSEA equipment. So we can get the life rafts, the EPERBS, the immersion suits, we can get all that stuff sent down to us because we have a licensed instructor on staff. So, having those guys here, obviously, getting more trainers will help us get cheaper stuff and more access to better equipment,” he said.

In other school board business, members discussed using funds through the SEARHC Active Living and Healthy Eating Grant to purchase a vehicle. There is $5,000 included in the grant for that purpose, but the district has an additional $12,000 set aside to replace the hospital van.

Evergreen Elementary Principal Therese Ashton said the district’s food service director currently uses her personal vehicle to move items back and forth. She said they are looking for a four-wheel drive box vehicle.

“A box vehicle that would be used for transporting the foods that she can put the cart in without having to take everything out of the cart and into the back of the truck, and also for freight,” she said.

Ashton said she is trying to stay within her five-thousand dollar budget provided by the SEARHC grant. She has looked at a few vehicles, but hasn’t found one yet that would work.

School officials also voted to terminate the district’s contract with the Alaska K-12 Virtual School as of June 30, 2014, which was the date it could have been renewed. The initial contract with the virtual school began in 2010 because the district wanted to ensure compliance with special education requirements. Only three of last year’s students were from Wrangell and those three have returned to the district this year. The virtual school currently has 85 students statewide in Kindergarten through 8th grade.

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