Public considers future of ETUSD schools

Part Three

By Patric Hedlund

An Olympic-sized swimming pool and a theater for the high school; iPads in place of textbooks and vocational training programs were among suggestions for the future of local schools proposed during eager dialogue at a meeting at Frazier Park School August 20.

The community was invited to meet with Sacramento-based Public Consulting Group (PCG) consultants Tim Haley and John Storey to explore public perceptions of the El Tejon Unified School District campuses and their future for the next 25 years. About 45 community members, nearly all homeowners who have lived in the area for ten or more years, said they believe these are beautiful campuses that need some "TLC" to bring them up to standard.

The Mountain Enterprise reported in detail in Part One and Part Two of this series about community responses on assets and deficits in the district. The PCG consultants also asked how the public views the future of their local schools.

The spirit lightened during this section of the evening, a departure from the many criticisms of the current board and superintendent which marked earlier segments of the dialogue.

The public said there is a need for more vocational training opportunities: "There is no mechanics, no woodshop, no metal shop; in 5 years I would like us to catch up to 1988," one parent said to surprised laughter.

Several discussed the need for an Olympic-sized pool for swimming competitions from sixth grade upward. They wanted the pool to be available to the public also.

More access to computer technology was widely supported, along with basic infrastructure upgrades, such as more power outlets and adequate internet bandwidth.

Using iPads and computer notebooks in place of textbooks was discussed as a way to eliminate the hazards of heavy backpacks and the expense of frayed and outdated texts. Parents also said they want students to have access to the school libraries, to be able to check out books, and for the libraries to be well-stocked.

A program to supplement classroom teaching with advanced internet tutorials- coupled with on-site teacher support-was supported. Close coordination with community college co-enrollment for Frazier Mountain High School students was also valued.

Parents said they support restoration of music, art and drama programs in the schools. They proposed construction of a theater at the high school and greater access to school facilities for after-school art programs.

This is part of the September 21, 2012 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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