High school quandary

Speaking of ironies (see the other Editorial), the yet-to-be-built Canyon View High School affords plenty of them, as an article in our Newslines section this week (page 10) points out.

When voters passed a bond measure in 1998 authorizing $40 million to build the school, they did so in the belief that Chico’s two existing comprehensive high schools were terribly overcrowded and that the problem would only get worse.

But the district’s difficulties in purchasing a plot of land, some the result of its own mistakes, delayed construction for seven years. Now, three years after the new school was supposed to be up and running, there may not be enough money, because of inflation, to build it.

On the plus side, a new comprehensive high school isn’t needed anymore because of a sharp decline in elementary-school enrollment. As board President Rick Anderson put it this week, “Thank God we did not blast through and build the thing.”

Now what? That’s question that faces the district, and it’s a real headache-maker. But it needs to be answered.

Anderson has floated the concept of moving Chico High School to the new campus, downsizing its current campus into a magnet school (for, say, the performing arts or technology) and leasing part of it to Chico State University. Another idea is to build a new but smaller facility and make it a magnet school. Some even have suggested the possibility of leasing out the new school site or selling it outright.

The trustees need to hear from the community on this. Let them know what you’d like to see happen—and that you want to see progress, not continued delay.