All this spending, but no second school?

Posted: Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Oh, this is really disgusting. I cannot believe people are so up in arms over our much-needed new high school. Where was all this flak over the new skating rink? The city can spend millions of dollars on recreation it seems, but when it comes to education it's "oh, no, we can't afford that!"

Glutting already inflated teachers' salaries, fine, but building or maintaining education facilities, no way! Has anyone walked the halls of the high school? How about visiting the Marie Drake building? Wall panels are scratched, chipped and peeling. Restroom stalls do not lock. Lockers have needed repainting for years.

I find reason to enter the Marie Drake building at least four times a week. I remember well the shiny new building it once was when I entered seventh grade and it housed our first junior high. Now it's like walking into a derelict building, except this one isn't quite abandoned. It reminds me of the slum tenements I see in movies.

The restrooms have been converted to accommodate the handicapped but the job was never quite finished, apparently, because there are toilet brackets from the removed toilets that have never been removed. Some restrooms lack stall doors, others simply lack a locking device or the locking device doesn't work.

We just spent how much on the new atrium at the high school? Oh, let's pay for some fancy-pants architect to put up an architectural sculpture, but let's leave our students in squalor.

Oh, and overcrowding? What's that? How much of the recent high school "improvements" was spent on classroom space?

When is the high school going to get an athletic field? We always have plenty to spend on Eaglecrest, Treadwell Skate Park and artsy fluff, but nothing for our kids. Is it any wonder none of them have the respect they need for themselves or others? Just what kind of message do these people think they are sending when the schools end up at the bottom of the priority list every time?

The city sent out these flyers last year talking about redoing the waterfront downtown to better accommodate the tourists. May I respectfully suggest that instead of the millions spent on such fluff, we spend it instead on our children's education? Oh, I forgot ... this town is here for the tourists, not for the residents. Is it any wonder so many of us lifelong residents hate the tourism industry?

Instead of feeding us metaphoric cotton candy, the city should be first spending its money on the meat and potatoes of education. This includes another school, more teachers and maintaining the schools we already have. Shame on you, Juneau. You're letting our children down and you have no excuse after wasting so much money on fluff.

Rayda L. Renshaw


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