Second high school needs to be a priority

Letter to the editor

Posted: Friday, January 23, 2004

We'll have new roads, but no new schools? Great.

The financial crises thrust upon communities, large and small, throughout Alaska is intolerable. Refusal to have a comprehensive fiscal plan with a broad-based income tax has created a nightmare in terms of meeting human needs.

One solution comes to mind, however. At the earliest opportunity, rid ourselves of the Murkowski administration and all his job-cutting, social service-slashing, trail-bailing, Capitol project-dumping cohorts in the state Legislature. Government should not serve corporate welfare at the expense of the public.

Have you noticed the play with population projections? There will be so many more people in Juneau within the next 20 years that we must widen Egan Drive or build concrete overpasses at every intersection. We must build a second crossing for predicted business growth on Douglas Island. We must build a road up the Lynn Canal. But, on the other hand, the population will not grow enough to ensure sufficient student enrollment to support construction of the new high school!

Dave Palmer recruits opposition to funding the Valley high school, but heads up a costly CBJ "road project." The Seward Street reconstruction project. Fix tourist congestion, but not student congestion? The city has money for one, but not the other? Where are Juneau's priorities?

I urge the School Board and Assembly to stick to their commitment to support quality education and quality facilities for our community. Continue to review space, programs, design and construction expenses for the second high school, but don't sabotage the project.

For those coaches or parents who object to duplicating high school sport teams in Juneau, I want to offer a reminder. The purpose of extracurricular activities is to enhance the educational program. The more students that can participate in athletics, art, music, drama, vocational and other such opportunities, the better. For some students, it can make the difference between staying in school or dropping out.

Support our students, support our teachers, support the Valley High School.

Dixie Hood


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