An open letter to the Meridian City Council

At the last Planning and Zoning meeting, the staff and commission recommended denial of West Ada School District’s application to build Owyhee High School near the intersection of McDermott and Ustick roads. We are writing this letter to urge you to vote against the recommendation of the commission and approve the project, with conditions if necessary. We are the West Ada Education Association and make this request to support the students and teachers in the West Ada School District. (The Meridian City Council will consider the project on Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the Meridian Council Chambers).

As you may know the high schools in West Ada are bursting at the seams, with Rocky Mountain and Eagle high schools sharing the worst of the overcrowding. Knowing this, a bond committee that included all stakeholders, was put together to develop a plan for a new high school. Through a series of public meetings, the committee agreed this location was the best location for the new school. The WASD then ran a bond measure, which passed with a 67.3 percent vote. Never has the district needed a school this badly or been given this clear a directive by the voters.

We know the district will work to meet all issues concerning code and safety. However, it is fiscally irresponsible to request that roads and sidewalks be extended beyond what will reasonably affect students’ safety or beyond where the school will benefit. Asking the school district to fund roads and sidewalks to private property is asking the school district to take money from students in order to benefit a private entity.

There are valid concerns in the draft list of conditions, but there are also individual people’s opinions on what would be nice. These niceties come at the districts expense, which means at the expense of money needed to educate the students. We ask that serious consideration be given to the list and that it be whittled down to only those issues which impact the well-being and safety of students.

The WAEA, on behalf of teachers in the district, supports the approval of WASD’s application. On behalf of the students, we implore the city to work collaboratively with West Ada Schools to do what is necessary to get this Owyhee High School built and avoid prolonging this process any further.

Written by Eric Thies, president of the West Ada Education Association.

 

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