- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 24, 2015

BETHEL, Alaska (AP) - Donated school supplies have been pouring in following the destruction of two schools in the Kilbuck building fire, but school officials say they need more money, not supplies.

Monetary donations have surpassed $67,000 since the Nov. 3 fire, which damaged a Yup’ik immersion school and the Kuskokwim Learning Academy. Loads of school supplies have been shipped from across the U.S. to help out in the aftermath of the blaze, KYUK-AM reported (https://bit.ly/1OcBCW4).

Assistant superintendent at Lower Kuskokwim School District, Carlton Kuhns, said the abundance of school supplies is creating a problem for the district.

“We’re having trouble at this point of where to even store those kinds of items: the glue sticks, the markers and pencils and paper,” Kuhns said.

The only supplies of immediate need for LKSD, Khuns said, is Yup’ik teaching materials for Ayaprun immersion school. Most of the Yup’ik materials were created by Ayaprun teachers throughout the school’s 20-year history.

“It’s not something you can buy off the shelf,” said Kuhns. “It’ll take teachers’ time and summer institutes where we develop those things.”

School employees were in the process of digitizing the instructional materials before the fire. Some of the digital copies were saved to an Internet cloud, while others have been loaded onto hard drives. LKSD has not yet received clearance from a hazardous materials consulting firm to begin sorting through the rubble, so the condition of the digital copies is unknown.

For now, Kuhns said monetary donations, not school supplies, will help address the district’s ongoing need to rebuild from the fire.

“The future will be where we need to have additional funding for supplies to replace the things that schools typically have for kids,” said Kuhns. “Everything from the balls on the playground and things for the gym and classroom needs.”

The donated funds are directed to the Bethel Community Services Foundation, which is tracking the money as it comes in and making sure donors are given thank you letters.

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Information from: KYUK-AM, https://www.kyuk.org

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