I feel the current debate about the two-high schools concept is quickly getting completely out of hand. We seem to be rushing to a decision which no one will be satisfied with. Remodeling Marie Drake and adding another sports field, taking away from Harborview's parking and green space, further congesting an already heavily used area makes no sense to me. Adding two-way traffic at Harborview, close to a major intersection will only add to likely child fatalities as occurred in the Valley last year. The amount of traffic congestion around the present high school is already unsafe at peak times and for games, concerts and other public functions.
Concentrating more high school students in this already crowded area is a mistake. Students leaving the high school at noon, hanging out in the cemetery, at loose ends all over town - this is not a healthy situation now. It is just one more side to the alarming dropout problem we have at the high school now. Why consider making it worse?
I would like to see community-wide meetings concerning the direction the School Board and city should take, in light of the recent vote. The Juneau Empire editorial mentioned that the committee formed by Mayor Bothello appeared to have more members in favor of a new Valley high school. I have talked with others who are convinced that the committee is biased against the Valley school concept. Such an important decision should not be made in haste and without adequate community input. There needs to be a fair and clear-minded process of discovery and decisionmaking that will satisfy all segments of the community and lead to a wise, cost effective school proposal, hopefully in time for the November ballot. Our children will be living with the consequences of whatever decision is made regarding the high school. Let's make sure that a transparent democratic process leads the decisionmaking, so that all the community can get behind it.
Marsha E. Bennett
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