CUSD-city meeting looks at issues, skimpy attire

The Chico school board and the City Council hadn’t met jointly in several years, but on July 24 they gathered around a table in a city conference room to talk about common concerns.

The councilmembers seemed to have been following district issues through media reports and were ready with questions about Canyon View High School, school resource officers, graffiti and even where to put old trophies from Chico High School.

City councilmembers quizzed trustees and staff members about progress on the yet-to-be-built high school and offered to help secure a site if they could.

Both parties also vowed to communicate better when either the city or the CUSD is working on traffic improvements. The issue of parking near Pleasant Valley High School sparked a lively discussion, with councilmembers throwing out ideas on how the district could encourage carpooling or lease parking space from neighboring businesses.

An update of the remodel of Chico High School’s 70-year-old gym prompted Councilmember Rick Keene to ask the CUSD to have its contractor keep track of concrete recycled, since the city could get credit toward its AB 939 recycling goals.

Police Chief Mike Efford spoke about the role of officers at the high school campus and mentioned that the city had been approved for a $150,000 grant to add two more but couldn’t accept it because the CUSD didn’t agree to pick up the costs after the grant ran out in three years.

Attendees also lamented the fact that it’s hard to hire and retain crossing guards.

But the most interesting observation of the evening came from Councilmember Larry Wahl, who lives near Chico High. “I’ve got to ask the question: Is there a dress code? It’s unbelievable what I’m seeing some of these young folks wearing—and not wearing, in some cases.”

After a couple of hesitant chuckles from attendees, Superintendent Scott Brown explained that it’s up to each school’s principal to set that type of policy, but gang attire is always forbidden.

No action was taken, but the two entities agreed that they should get together more often.