Consider one school

Letter to the editor

Posted: Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Bill and Judy Hopkins' recent letter reminded me of past information that has been missing in the new high school issue. I recall that there never was a vote to build a four-year high school. The single school that was voted down was a three-year high school, which would have combined the ninth grade with the middle school grades. This proved to be an unpopular solution on its own merit. Somehow the vote for the three-year high school was combined with the two-school theory.

The same objections arose at that time as we are currently facing, namely loss of elective educational programs and duplicate operational costs with the advent of two smaller schools. Divisiveness was also a major concern at that time.

I do not envy those who are dealing with the current situation, but I do wonder if alternative plans might still be able to include one comprehensive new four-year high school in the Valley, with the present location becoming a combined alternative and vocational school, possibly including Southeast Alaska's additional education needs. Partial use by augmenting Juneau's needs for convention/performance options might also be considered.

While I am reminiscing, the permanent fund was originally set aside to provide both sharing oil revenue funds with the people of Alaska and to provide income for state revenue when needed in the years to come. The state income tax was eliminated shortly after that and is a loss of revenue to the state. The Legislature itself has always had the power to address budgetary needs through using the permanent fund, without making it a public issue and still maintaining a dividend. Why do they not address this responsibility? Today the dividend is looked at as an entitlement, state needs - even such as education - be damned. What happens when the wells run dry?

Peggie Ward


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