The shrinking village of Karluk, on the western shore of Kodiak Island, is trying to keep its school viable. So it’s willing to pay a couple of families with three or four children apiece to move there of a year, so that it can draw down state education funds.
Public schools in Alaska need to maintain an enrollment of 10 students to get state funding. Karluk, which had a population of 37 during the 2010 U.S. Census, is now down to about 21 people. The demographics are Native American: 82.14%; two or more races: 17.86%; White: 0%; Black or African American: 0%.
Karluk Tribal Council’s ad says that it will pay a couple of families with enough kids — three or four — to move to the village, all expenses paid, for a year, and will even provide jobs. That money, without question, is passed through from the U.S. and State taxpayer, to pay families so that the village can draw down more government money and open its school.
If this were any other kind of enterprise other than a tribe, these definitions for acceptable applicants would be considered a federal equal opportunity violation. But this is a tribe.
Karluk is in the Kodiak Island School District, which has 2,277 students and which just approved a $49.5 million budget for the coming year. The village of Karluk is not connected to the schools by road, however. It is extremely remote. There is no high-speed internet.
If there are just two or four school-age children in Karluk, where the median age is 23.7, two families moving in with eight children would nearly redefine the entire town and grow the town by more than one-third. But it’s only for one year. Who knows what will happen the next year, or if the families decide midway through the year that this is just not for them?
The village has an AOL email address listed for those interested: [email protected].