Montessori parents: Go paint cars somewhere else
Worried that paint fumes could give their children respiratory problems—or worse—a small group of parents of Montessori Elementary School students are organizing against an auto body repair shop that’s applied to relocate across the street.

The parents have opposed the relocation since February, when California Color applied for a use permit that would put it just 200 feet across the street from the private school, which has 47 students. The debate has simmered all summer, and the Butte County Air Quality Management District released a study last week that says that the air quality in the neighborhood (the school is at 3105 The Esplanade) wouldn’t be adversely affected by the painting done at the shop.

School owner Jim Claflin disagrees, arguing that the AQMD didn’t perform tests that studied the fumes’ effects on children, specifically. The parents of his students agree, too, and have vowed to fight the shop until “the bitter end.”

Pricey gym goes back to drawing board
Don’t break out those basketballs just yet.

Not able to afford $1 million more than the $2.5 million it budgeted for Marsh Junior High School’s gymnasium, the Chico Unified School District is sending the project out to bid again.

“We’ve taken a look at the timing of the bids, being in the summer when everyone [in construction] is busy,” CUSD Facilities Planner Mike Weissenborn reported at Sept. 19’s Board of Trustees meeting. He said another try in December should yield a lower figure, but if not the district could consider using the main gym structure as a “base bid” and splitting the parking lots into separate projects, as well as scaling back from a concrete-and-stucco building to just concrete blocks.

The question is, Weissenborn said, “are we really getting the bank for the buck that we are needing to get out of this project?”

Also at the meeting, Weissenborn said the first community meeting concerning the conceptual design of Canyon View High School would take place in mid-October. A high school has been placed—on paper—on four parcels of land as the environmental-review process moves ahead.

Making a plan for Chico’s schools
A plan that could guide schools’ priorities for years into the future is finally underway in the Chico Unified School District.

In a special meeting Sept. 12, trustees considered the structure of a committee that would meet several times from January to June 2002 and come up with goals and how to implement them. The “planning team” would include 30 committee members, who’d break up into “action teams” and work with the help of a professional facilitator.

As proposed, the team would include several administrators, teachers, two trustees and other employees plus some parents and community members. After a few minutes, it dawned on the trustees—it was Ann Sisco who pointed it out—that the team could also benefit from a student voice.

The plan, born early this year as the district got and quickly spent an unexpected $6 million allocated by Gov. Gray Davis, would show not only where the district should place its values, but also its dollars. The board has committed $36,050 to the plan.