SALUTATORIAN–Class of 2024 Salutatorian Iryna Kadatska snaps a selfie with Nome-Beltz Principal Teriscovkya Smith after being honored at the May 14 school board meeting.VALEDICTORIAN– Class of 2024 Valedictorian Kaitlyn Johnson poses for a picture with Nome-Beltz principal Teriscovkya Smith after being honored at the May 14 school board meeting.HONORED–Sixth Grader Elliott Mathisen was celebrated at the School Board meeting on May 14 for the hard work throughout the year.

Nome-Beltz may get a new roof

The school board convened for their regular session last Tuesday to discuss 2025 funding proposed in the Alaska Legislature’s capital budget, last minute cancellation of a track meet trip and a staffing update for the upcoming school year.  
Nome-Beltz is set to get their roof and generator replacement after the final Legislative capital budget approval passed on May 10. Governor Mike Dunleavy still has to approve the budget and there is the potential that he can line-item veto part or all of the top 20 school district capital projects that were funded through the legislature.
Alaska public schools are also set to receive a one-time $680 increase per student to the funding formula. Despite receiving increases to the state budget NPS will still have to contend with the 15 percent increase in health insurance costs and increases in drayage and food services. According to Burgess the district’s capital fund can’t sustain another extraction like it did this year to balance the 2025 budget. Burgess said it is discouraging that after all the advocacy to permanently increase funding for public schools, no bills were enacted. “We’re gonna have to take a deep breath and buckle up. We’re gonna have to do it all over again next year,” Burgess said. “And we’ll have to see what happens with elections this coming fall.”

Public Comments
During the public comment period student athletes Luke Hansen, Son Erikson and Taylor Gorn stepped up to speak on behalf of the track team. They were set to travel to Juneau in two days for a meet but their trip was unexpectedly cancelled that morning. The team couldn’t stay at the high school the meet was being held at on Thursday night, so they planned to stay at a grandparent’s home. The students relayed that the housing arrangement was the reason for the trip cancellation. “We’re all paying ourselves to go to this meet and our parents all approved and want us to go, we want to go so we can be at state next week,” Hansen said.
Following the meeting, however the trip was approved and students traveled and competed in Juneau. Eight athletes have qualified for the States competition, which will take place this weekend, May 24 and 25, at Dimond High School in Anchorage.
Also brought to the board’s attention during public comments period was the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program’s Acceleration Academy where high school students can earn a bachelor’s degree concurrently with their high school diploma. Sophia Pantelis and Kelli Breuker presented this idea to the board after collecting signatures of interest from the community. “This is huge. It’s a huge financial burden lifted for families that may not be able to afford education, otherwise, it keeps people invested in the community,” Breuker said. The board said they need to do further research into the program to see what would be required of the district and if it has potential to fit into the community.

Staff Updates
Two more resignations were announced including Assistant Superintendent Doug Pfau who will be replaced by current principal of Nome Elementary School, Elizabeth Korenek-Johnson. In her superintendent report Burgess wrote several positions still need to be filled, many of them in the Special Education Department.

Other news
Principal of Anvil City Science Academy, Lisa Leeper takes part in the Rural Arts Initiative, a program that works to integrate the arts into existing curriculum across subjects. During the meeting she announced NPS is poised to receive a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to help integrate cultural experience into literacy. The goal would be to use the funding to integrate “storytelling and oral tradition and other forms of native literacy into the classroom literacy that is part of our curriculum,” Leeper said. If approved, the program would begin this summer. Leeper said she plans to reach out to people in the community who can help with the project and is open to ideas.
Student representative of the board Iryna Kadatska gave her final report after spending the year sitting in on meetings and reporting student happenings to the school board. Board members thanked her for her presence at the meetings and thoughtful communications.

Actions taken
The board voted to approve 11 revised policies into their handbook and the 2024-2025 student handbook for the middle high school. They also approved the renewal contract with NANA management for maintenance and operations. In an effort to save money, the district will discuss moving the contract operations under the City of Nome’s management, beginning in 2025.
The next board meeting will be a work session taking place on May 28 at 5:30 p.m. in the NES library.

The Nome Nugget

PO Box 610
Nome, Alaska 99762

Phone: (907) 443-5235
Fax: (907) 443-5112

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