New school needed?

Letter to the editor

Posted: Thursday, December 04, 2003

There seems to be still some confusion about the new high school. Some people think we need to build the new school simply because if we do not, it would not be possible to receive the 40 percent reimbursement from the government. Others think it is too late to stop the ball rolling. This is absurd.

If we do build this new school, sure we get the reimbursement, but we have no money in the city budget for teachers to teach there, no money for heat and no money for maintenance of any kind. Nor do we even have a pressing need for more room for students. Do we as the capital city want an unused building just sitting there? This very situation has happened to many cities across the nation.

At the time, the student body was forecast to be over 2,000 high school students by the year 2003, gold prices were very high and Kensington had planned to open a mine bringing in over 400 families. With the price of gold as it has been, the mine did not open and 400 families did not move into Juneau. The high school student enrollment is at present 1,550, with 128 students in alternative school or other locations. Without the mine opening the enrollment forecast is not expanding as fast as some would have you believe (in fact it is decreasing).

The present high school is having difficulties staying ahead of their maintenance budget now; adding another school would only double the problem. As for the teachers, haven't we (the city) been negotiating with the union for more money for teachers at present? Where are we to find more money for teachers to staff this new school? Sure it would be nice to see a new high school in the valley, but at what cost?

Troy Bowthorpe


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