Travel arrangements to your school site should be made as soon as possible. Travel itineraries will be routed through Anchorage (Alaska’s largest city). Anchorage can be reached from "Outside" or "the Lower 48" by air and car. From Anchorage, you can reach Dillingham only by air. The school site in Aleknagik is located 25 miles from Dillingham and is accessed by road and either boat or snowmobile for the short distance to the other side of the lake. The remaining school sites are accessed only by air from Dillingham.
Teachers located in Aleknagik and Dillingham shall receive a $650 travel stipend. Teachers located at the remaining school sites shall receive a $950 travel stipend. Taxes, if required, shall be withheld for this benefit at the time the stipend is issued. The second working day of each school year will be set as the accrual date. However, if a teacher fails to return to duty during his/her contract, the travel stipend will be forfeited by the teacher. In the case of such forfeiture, the District will withhold the amount previously paid, from monies owed the teacher. If no monies are owed the teacher at the time of forfeiture, the teacher will be responsible to make payment to the District within thirty (30) calendar days.
Airlines serving Dillingham are PenAir (https://www.penair.com), Ravn Alaska (https://www.flyravn.com), and Alaska Airlines (https://www.alaskaair.com/). Note: Purchasing a complete ticket from your current location to Dillingham is often cheaper through Alaska Airlines even though part of your travel may be on PenAir. PenAir is a travel partner with Alaska Airlines.
Airlines vary in the amount of allowable luggage. Normally you are allowed one pieces of baggage (50 lbs. or less) and one carry-on which must fit under your seat. Baggage allowance may be less on the smaller airlines. Check with your airline prior to departure. Charges for excess baggage can be high.
Travel from Dillingham to the villages is by local air taxi. Arrangements for travel to sites can be made from Dillingham. Be sure to tell them you are a new teacher arriving for the first time, and let them know how much baggage you will be transporting.
While the airports in each community are relatively close to housing, make sure that someone knows your itinerary and is waiting for you to arrive. You do not want to land at your new home and have to walk from the airport dragging your suitcases.
Local Airline Taxi’s
Alaska Island Air (907) 842-5120
Bristol Bay Air (907) 842-2227
Bush Hopper (907) 843-1924
Coupchiak Air (907) 843-1990
Grant Air (907) 842-2955
Mulchatna Air (907) 842-4500
Shannon’s Air (907) 842-2735
Tucker Air (907) 842-1023
True North (907) 843-9696
Van Air (907) 842-4985
Southwest Region Schools leases housing to its staff at school sites. The cost of this housing is regulated by negotiated agreement and specific costs can be found in the Teacher’s and Administrator’s Negotiated Agreements.
District housing has basic furnishings, which typically includes couch, chairs, end tables, beds, dressers, and night-stands. Furnishings may very from unit to unit. You will need to provide bedding, linens, dishes, utensils, and desired small appliances including television sets. Please contact your principal for specific needs. District-owned housing units have plumbing and conventional electric service. Limited freezer space and washer and dryers are available.
All villages receive television broadcasts—most limited to Alaska satellite broadcasts. If you have a small set that can be mailed, it might be a good idea to do so. It is not wise to ship a large set or buy a new one until you have checked out the local situation. Stores in Anchorage usually have sales on sets in early fall.
Be sure to pack a radio as the region is served by KDLG, a public broadcasting station owned and operated by the Dillingham City School District. Also, some residents enjoy multi-band receivers which, when equipped with good antennas, make it possible to receive distant AM stations and international short wave broadcasts.
The local telephone service for Aleknagik, Clark’s Point and Manokotak, is Nushagak Cooperatives and can be reached at (907) 842-5251.
The local telephone service provider for Ekwok, Koliganek and New Stuyahok is Bristol Bay Telephone and can be reached at (907) 246-3403.
The local telephone service provider for Togiak and Twin Hills is United Utilities and can be reached at (907) 543-7575 and fax (907) 543-5322.
Make sure that you bring a letter from your current telephone service provider indicating your payment history and credit worthiness. This may help reduce or eliminate the security deposit that you have to pay in addition to any hookup fees.
Long distance telephone service is provided by ATT or GCI. You may choose either provider at the time you sign-up for local service. Cell phone service is readily available, primarily through GCI (https://www.gci.com).
Be prepared to spend twice as much for food as you would in Seattle. A few items are obtainable in stores in Koliganek, Manokotak, New Stuyahok and Togiak.
All the villages are “damp” or “dry” with no alcoholic beverages sold, and the importation of alcohol is prohibited for some of the sites; this includes the importation for personal use. The extent of “dry” varies from village to village and year to year. Please visit the “Local Option Restrictions” page of the Alaska Public Safety Alcoholic Beverage Control Board at http://www.dps.state.ak.us/abc/restrictions.aspx for more information.
In Dillingham the major sources of groceries are the N&N Market, Bigfoot, and Alaska Commercial Company (A.C.). They will box and ship groceries to your site.
Costco, a membership grocer in Anchorage, has good prices, and you may shop in person or through mail order. Span Alaska out of Washington State ships case quantity items. Mr. Prime Beef will ship beef, pork and poultry meats to any site. Wal-Mart and Fred Meyer in Anchorage also provide “bush” mail services. Postage from Anchorage is affordable. If you have frozen items shipped, it will need to be sent airfreight, and it is best to be at your site when the boxes arrive.
Many people pack coolers with frozen food and ship them as luggage. Remember that the airlines only allow baggage weighing up to 50 lbs. Anything in excess of 50lbs. will constitute extra charges.
If you are planning to mail things from Anchorage, the airport post office is open longer hours (8:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.) Monday through Friday, (9:00 a.m. - 11:00 p.m.) Saturday and Sunday.
We recommend you plan to spend a couple days in Anchorage to shop for food items and mail or freight them to the village. Hotel rates are extremely expensive during the summer months so it is also recommended that you stay at a Bed & Breakfast. Your travel agent should be able to provide you with recommendations.
Mailing Your Items
You can begin mailing your personal items to the school you are assigned. There is a person at each school assigned to pick up boxes and deliver them to the school. Being at the school, they are in a safe place. If you do not put the school address on your boxes, the rural post offices will send them back. They don’t have storage space to hold boxes for any length of time. When you get to your site, your boxes can be picked up and brought to your housing unit. You will want to address your boxes as follows:
C/O "School Name"
Village Name, AK ZIP
C/O Aleknagik School
Aleknagik, AK 99555
You may want to send them insured in case of damage or loss. The U.S. Postal service accepts packages weighing up to 70 lbs. As a general rule, the heavier the box, the cheaper the postage. For example, two boxes weighing 5 lbs will cost as much or more then a single box weighing 10 lbs. It’s important to tape and label your boxes clearly.
You will want to mail most everything you are going to need or plan to purchase it via the internet with a site that offers free shipping (not everything will ship to Alaska though). Traveling with large suitcases cost a lot of extra money. Here in rural Alaska, you have to either bring it with you, ship it ahead or order it when you get here.
Dress tends to be more casual than in school districts “Outside” of Alaska, but it also varies from village to village. Temperatures are not as extreme as in other parts of the state or nation. You should expect rain and mud in the Fall and Spring. Most find knee high rubber boots to be indispensable.
You will want a warm jacket, but may wish to wait and peruse through mail order catalogs or via the Internet, ordering when you can determine the type that will best suit your needs. Look for things that can be laundered, as your closest dry cleaner is Anchorage.
Because of our remoteness, there are no shopping malls, movie theaters or any other major entertainment centers. You may consider bringing some things such as:
Art supplies books
camera and film collections
fishing gear (ice fishing too) records, tapes, and cd’s
cross country skis ice skates
rifles and/or shotguns games
sleeping bag & day pack (handy for district travel)
A favorite activity in many villages is snowmobiling and four wheeling. They are also useful as a means of transportation.
If you like to fish and/or hunt you will need a license. The State of Alaska requires twelve months of continuous residency to attain a resident license. There are additional fees for nonresidents who wish to hunt large game. Check with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Game Division, in Dillingham, (907) 842-5925 for more information.
Check your State regulations for leaving and Alaska for entering with firearms. Also check the TSA for regulations on the planes. If you are traveling through Canada, make sure you know the requirements before you travel.
If you bring a pet, it will be necessary to keep it confined or tied. A stray or loose animal may be disposed of if it becomes a nuisance in the community. There is a pet deposit required with each animal. Owners are responsible for all damage the animal creates.
To ship a dog or cat you will need an airline approved carrier – available from the airlines or a pet store. Also, you will need valid rabies and parvo certificates for them. Don’t overlook distemper shots. There is no veterinarian in the Bristol Bay area, so injured or sick animals must be sent airfreight to Anchorage for medical attention. A vet does visit Dillingham and a few villages periodically.
Pet supplies and boarding may be obtained at Happy Tails in Dillingham. They may be contacted at (907) 842-3647. They are located out the “Lake Road” and are approximately 9 miles from the District Office in Dillingham.
There is a small, fifteen-bed hospital (Kanakanak Hospital) located in Dillingham. Inpatient, Outpatient, Optometric, and Dental care are available. In addition, one private dentist practices in Dillingham and an orthodontist makes periodic visits to Dillingham.
In addition to the hospital in Dillingham, there are small local clinic facilities staffed by health paraprofessionals (equivalent to a licensed practical nurse) in all villages. Togiak has a larger clinic with a practitioner on staff.
Each employee is required to have a current physical signed by a certified physician before the first contracted work day. We encourage you to have all of your routine medical work done before you come. It is always wise to have back-up glasses and/or adequate amounts of solution or other contacts supplies on hand.
We strongly recommend that all necessary dental work be done prior to your move. Having a toothache in a village can be a miserable experience, especially if the weather is bad and no planes are able to fly.
The small stores have a limited supply of over the counter drugs. If you need special medications or prescription drugs that you cannot keep an extended supply of, have your physician communicate with the pharmacists at the Kanakanak Hospital, P.O. Box 130, Dillingham, AK 99576. The hospital does have a pharmacy.
Kanakanak Hospital (907) 842-5201
Dillingham Dental Clinic (907) 842-5214