Anchorage charter school asks school board to allow it to move into Abbott Loop Elementary

Anchorage Charter School asks school board to allow it to move into Abbott Loop Elementary
Published: Jan. 11, 2023 at 6:17 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Alaska Native Cultural Charter School, which has long been searching for a permanent home, is asking the Anchorage School District School Board to consider letting it move into Abbott Loop Elementary should the board decide to close that school.

Abbott Loop is the lone school the district administration has recommended for closure and demolition, in part because of costly building repairs it says are necessary to keep the school open for the long term.

Manny Acuna, President of the Academic Policy Committee which governs the charter school, said the school isn’t looking to make Abbott Loop a permanent home. Instead, it wants to move out of its current location in Bettye Davis East High School where it relocated nearly two years ago after safety issues were discovered at its old location during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It would be a temporary solution for us to move out of East High because right now being here, it’s honestly destroying our cultural mission,” Acuna said.

Acuna said while they are grateful to have been welcomed at East, the high school location has not been an ideal fit, particularly for their younger students. He said some families have even left the school because of it.

“It’s been a huge adjustment for many of our families,” Acuna said. “And they want their kids in our program, just not in the location that we are currently at now.”

The charter school made the request to the school board at Monday’s meeting. School Board President Margo Bellamy said the board has many questions about the proposal and has asked the administration to meet with the charter’s governing committee to discuss the issue before issuing a report back to the board.

District Spokesperson Lisa Miller said the Abbott Loop building is considered safe to occupy and it’s possible the charter school might work there on a temporary basis, although the proposal is very much in the beginning stages of discussion.

“It’s a new consideration, but there is potential there,” Miller said. “Especially considering that ANCCS is not interested in using it as a permanent home but rather for x amount of years.”

If the Native Cultural Charter School did move into Abbott Loop Elementary, Miller said it would not be required to pay the district rent, but it would be responsible for yearly utilities and any maintenance costs for the building.

The Anchorage School Board will make the final decision about what happens to Abbott Loop as part of their budget process, which needs to be completed by the beginning of February.