The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District will use $800,000 in federal and local grants to help pay for the cost of elementary school counselors this school year.
Jessica Scogin, KPBSD’s federal programs coordinator, told the Clarion in July that, of that total amount, $650,000 comes from the federal government and from Central Peninsula Hospital.
KPBSD received $500,000 through the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which President Joe Biden signed into law last summer, Scogin said. That legislation aims to promote safer and more positive school environments by expanding mental health services and giving schools additional resources.
The other $150,000 comes from Central Peninsula Hospital by way of a $338,000 health equity grant. Holland in August said the hospital has earmarked another $150,000 for school counselors in the upcoming year.
“I’m really proud that they were able to get that grant,” Keef said. “We’ll continue to work in that way with our community.”
KPBSD Superintendent Clayton Holland said in July that the federal grant is good for three years and said it’s done “a lot” during the district’s most recent budget cycle to help alleviate costs. Both Holland and members of the school board have said elementary school counselor positions are typically difficult to fill.
The district budgeted about $626,000 for elementary school counselors for the current fiscal year. That amount appeared on a document of potential budget cuts for consideration by school board members earlier this year. It was ultimately determined that the counselor positions couldn’t be cut because contracts had already gone out for the current school year.
Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at firstname.lastname@example.org.